new-york

Tina Barney, The Reception, 1985, C-print, 48 × 60".

Tina Barney

Kasmin Gallery | 515 27th Street

Tina Barney, The Reception, 1985, C-print, 48 × 60".

Money, I’ve heard, cannot buy happiness. And through the 1980s, Tina Barney’s darkly witty pictures of her insular upper-class milieu gave a diabolically cheerful endorsement of that tried-and-true claim. These now-classic half-staged, half-spontaneous shots are a visual tone poem of WASP privilege and icy repression—a hot mess of sunburned boredom, simpering awkwardness, and vacant stares. This show, the artist’s first at Paul Kasmin Gallery, included eleven works that span forty years and that range from the iconic (Mark, Amy and Tara, 1983) to the newer and lesser known.

Among the earliest pieces here was The Reception, 1985—one of my favorite on view. This killer shot features a young gentleman who looks plucked straight from the cast of American Psycho lounging in an armchair with his finger on his chin. He gazes smugly at the woman beside him, who has spotted

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the October 2015 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.