new-york

Michael Wolf, A Series of Unfortunate Events #57, 2010, color photograph, 60 x 48". From the series “Street Views,” 2009–10.

Michael Wolf

Bruce Silverstein Gallery

Michael Wolf, A Series of Unfortunate Events #57, 2010, color photograph, 60 x 48". From the series “Street Views,” 2009–10.

Looking at Michael Wolf’s photographic series, one is flung between two poles: Is the photographer trying to demonstrate how dehumanized the world has become, or is he insisting on the opposite?

One series, “Architecture of Density,” 2003–2009, shows images of Hong Kong high-rise buildings, with rows and columns of windows that seem to extend ad infinitum and, in fact, look quite like pixels. The images don’t have the all-encompassing feel of those by Andreas Gursky, such as the artist’s Hongkong and Shanghai Bank, 1994; the motion Wolf’s works inspire is less one of stepping back to be enveloped by a pattern than one of coming in close to look for interruptions in it. Human presence, however, is scant: A group sitting amicably on a windowsill turns out to be shirts on hangers, and in night shots, figures are so blitzed by the light blazing out of windows that they are unidentifiable.

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