new-york

Paul Caponigro

Schmidt Bingham Gallery

Standing stones—rings, dolmens, menhirs—have been part of the landscape of northwestern Europe as long as several thousand years, for the last thirty or so of which they have been photographed by Paul Caponigro. And also by any number of other people, for they are popular subjects with photography’s equivalent of the Sunday painter. The idea of likening Caponigro’s deeply knowledgeable and masterfully printed images to hobbyist snapshots frightens the timid reviewer, but the fact is that the tradition to which he belongs—the same line as Minor White—embraces “spiritual” and “transcendental” qualities often desired, and all too easily achieved, by amateurs. There is a sizable part of the contemporary art world, ironic and judgmental, in which these sentiments would not fly at all; and Caponigro didn’t help himself when he wrote, in the epigraph to a recent collection of his work, of “The

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