New York

Catherine Opie

Jay Gorney Modern Art

While Los Angeles–based artist Catherine Opie is best known for her “straight” portraits of decidedly nonstraight, tattooed and scarified, leather gear–equipped men and women, in this show we are presented with a less familiar, but not entirely inconsistent, side of her photographic practice: large-scale, richly coloristic “portraits” of Beverly Hills houses, and diminutively scaled, exquisitely gray-toned platinum prints showing Los Angeles freeways. If, in her figurative works, Opie presents the body’s surface (skin, decoration, style of haircut) as a map on or through which distinctions of culture and identity can be located, these architectural shots speak about the contradictory condition of surface: they seem to say everything and nothing at all about their putative subjects.

Opie’s photographs of homes may in fact give us another way of looking at the earlier work: our assumption is

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