Time Out New York / Apr 9–15, 2009
"It's you. Not me."
ANDREW KREPS GALLERY
In what appears to be a sequel to his "To Be Determined" group show, Andrew Kreps Gallery gathers another array of works by artists who use photography. Here, the focus is on pseudonymity or the obfuscation of intentions through visual and conceptual feints. Making extensive use of found and recycled imagery, these pranksters (mostly familiar names with a couple of lesser-knowns) present viewers with deliberately confounding propositions. They prompt healthy skepticism about both the authority of the images on view and the integrity of their sources.
Hans-Peter Feldmann's camouflage-patterned camera could double as the show's logo, but it's Lutz Bacher who scores the most wall space with her fascinating prints made from found snapshots and negatives. Men at War (1975) is a frieze of oddly homoerotic figure studies, all extracted from the same image of World War II sailors at ease. Bien Hoa (2006–07) pairs reproductions of snaps taken by an American soldier in Vietnam with the actual prints (thrift-store finds) turned to the wall—the better to see their handwritten, if sometimes off-topic, captions.
Similarly, the artist collective Reena Spaulings offers a lightbox image of a spread from a photo book on the late American Fine Arts impresario Colin de Land, along with a silkscreened reworking of a painting by Merlin Carpenter that was previously shown at Spaulings's gallery. It's all inside-baseball stuff in an already self-reflexive show, but look past the superficial cleverness, and there are some ideas here worth contemplating.
Image: View of "It's you. Not me.," 2009