The Easel

22nd August 2023

Josh Kline’s Exercise in Poverty Porn

To accompany this survey of Klein’s work, the Whitney has published an essay linking it to the “unsung struggle to maintain a middle-class existence”. But does it work as art? Some critics like its accessibility. Not all. Klein’s art is melodramatic, says a critic, subjugated to “the cause of social and political criticism”. This writer generally concurs – social justice issues are important but “the Barbie movie [is better at introducing such issues] to a broad audience”.

Woman With a Film Camera

After years away, Abbott returned to New York a fan of Eugène Atget’s urban photography. Finding that “old New York” was disappearing, she embarked on a project to document its transformation. Those images show a city of tremendous dynamism and exemplify a “straight” style of photography no longer derivative of Atget. Abbott rarely featured people in her images, showing that her real ambition was to “make New York’s modernity her subject”.

15th August 2023

Love Songs: Photography and Intimacy @ICP

Can you photograph love? A group photography show on the theme suggests the answer is maybe … sometimes. One critic attacks the show for its “tired tropes … comely nudes, rumpled beds, preening poses, mirrors”. That’s a bit harsh – themes about death, breakups, motherhood and violence are all addressed.  Notes another critic, despite these renowned artists trying for the same thing, “the exhibition [proves] that they’re not showing the same thing at all”.