new-york

Christopher Williams

David Zwirner | 519 West 19th Street

Looking at a Christopher Williams show can be a nerve-racking activity. For all the pleasure offered by Williams’s stark/lush photographs, there is in every one of his installations the threat of an intellectual aptitude test. Why else would so many of the writings on his work begin with seemingly casual questions that sound nonetheless like riddles? “What relationship is there between a French car from the ’60s, a Japanese student posing for a fashion photo in 1993, papayas (of the Carica papaya Linné sort), and a dishwasher tray filled with brightly colored plates?” asked Jean-Pierre Criqui in these pages in 2000; “What does a jellyfish have to do with a working class apartment building in Lodz?” wonders John Kelsey in a 2007 essay.

That there actually are connections between these disparate elements is a fact, but the links are rarely immediately self-evident—although, it should be

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