new-york

Meg Cranston

Venetia Kapernekas Gallery

Outside certain Nazi circles, physiognomy did not enjoy a kind reception in the twentieth century. And even if it were revived today, teeth would not be likely candidates for analysis: Certain physical traits, such as height, are still irremediable in the twenty-first century, but teeth are not among them. In an age of modem dentistry and fluoridated water, “good” teeth are more common than at any other point in history—although, lie almost everything else, they are also a reliable indicator of socioeconomic position. And with bonding and new whitening techniques, some teeth are even an index of wealth, like obesity in the Middle Ages or pale skin in the agricultural nineteenth century.

To walk through Meg Cranston’s latest show, “Some Popular Subjects (teeth),” however, was to enter a gray area where “bad” teeth suddenly became “good.” Rather than try to resurrect physiognomy for the old

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