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Katy Grannan, Inessa Waits Near South 9th Street, Modesto, CA, 2012, ink-jet print, 46 1/8 × 61 1/4".

Katy Grannan

Salon 94 | Bowery

Katy Grannan, Inessa Waits Near South 9th Street, Modesto, CA, 2012, ink-jet print, 46 1/8 × 61 1/4".

Times are tough out there, but they look even tougher than in most places in Modesto, California. At least that’s how it appears in the works that made up Katy Grannan’s recent exhibition “Hundreds of Sparrows.” Is this arid, desolate landscape, populated mostly by loners who’ve been hardened by life yet still look tremendously vulnerable, really the same town where George Lucas set his bittersweet but innocent American Graffiti (1973)? The short answer is no. Lucas’s nostalgic reverie on middle-American adolescence is clearly fictional, and probably owes as much to the equally reimagined Rimini of Federico Fellini’s 1953 I Vitelloni as it does to Lucas’s own memories of his hometown; the gimlet eye that Grannan casts on this hardscrabble landscape and its scruffy inhabitants may give her work a quasi-documentary air—the legacy of Dorothea Lange is evoked—but make no

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