Time Out New York / Feb 8–17, 2010

Anne Collier

It’s hard to believe that this is Anne Collier’s first major solo exhibition in New York, considering the ubiquity of her smart take on photoconceptualism in heavy-hitting group shows here and around the world over the past few years. Collier’s work, like that of her senior Christopher Williams, purposefully refuses the suspension of disbelief for which much photography still aims. Her images consciously admit the medium’s construction and context, focusing on the various ways in which photographic images are presented in the world at large. To this end, she shoots everyday objects and formats—record covers, magazine pages—that are emblazoned with photographs, or turns the medium’s technical apparatus on itself by incorporating traditional darkroom tools into spare, deadpan compositions.

It may sound dry, but Collier usually manages to rescue her project from pure academia via the integration of some neat formal and art-historical gags. Thus the eye (the artist’s own?) that is the close-up subject of the black-and-white Developing Tray #2 is subtly mirrored by the design of its container, while in Cut, a similar print gets the Chien Andalou treatment from a desktop guillotine. Only a slide projection of 18 frames from the 1978 film The Eyes of Laura Mars falls flat. Though consistent with Collier’s oeuvre, it lacks the appeal—perhaps because its subject (a photographer envisioning a murder while behind the lens) and her studied treatment thereof evoke the kind of theoretical correctness that she generally avoids.

Image: Anne Collier, 8 x 10 (blue), 2007