New York

Jan Dibbets

Gladstone Gallery | West 21st St

Overheard at the opening for Jan Dibbets’s recent exhibition of late-’60s and ’70s work: “Old? Yes, they’re old. Maybe old enough for people to actually see them.” That the speaker was Dibbets himself doesn’t make the remark any less perceptive. This museum-quality miniretrospective succeeded not just in resituating Dibbets’s photography within so-called Dutch Conceptualism but also in helping us reconsider the broader Conceptualist break from art’s reliance on the object. What the exhibition demonstrated is that Dibbets’s compositions, for all their austerity and almost exaggerated rigor, are much closer to painting—and much more aesthetically pleasing—than they may once have seemed.

Among the thirteen works on view was Shortest Day at My House in Amsterdam, 1970, a gridded series of eighty photographs taken by a stationary camera: one shot every eight minutes on December 21, 1970, starting

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