New York

Andreas Gursky

Matthew Marks Gallery

The discourse around Andreas Gursky tends to get trapped in an outdated modernist impulse to define a medium by its physical properties. Because his monumental color photographs are digitally manipulated, they must be not photographs but “photographic paintings.” But it might be more useful to consider Gursky’s work in terms of effect rather than category.

Gursky’s latest offering featured his signature panoramic vistas of the weirdly spectacular yet antiseptic public spaces of late capitalism: discount superstores, cavernous hotel lobbies, stock-market trading floors. Also on display were three “micro-panoramas,” massively enlarged close-ups of a page from a book (Robert Musil’s Man Without Qualities) and of paintings (a Constable, a van Gogh). In the early ’90s, Gursky began applying the formal tropes of modernist painting to his photographic images, and the works here further that trend.

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