"The Wedding (the Walker Evans Polaroid Project)": ANDREA ROSEN GALLERY

By Frankel, David | Artforum International, March 2012 | Go to article overview

"The Wedding (the Walker Evans Polaroid Project)": ANDREA ROSEN GALLERY


Frankel, David, Artforum International


At her foundation's gallery space in Toronto and elsewhere, Ydessa Hcndeies has organized exhibitions that set artworks and orher objects, both evervdav and extraordinary', in arrangements that blur the line between the curator's discipline and the artist's. I lendeles's intensely thoughtful choices and placements involve intellectual and aesthetic processes of research and selection, as a curator's do and an artist's may, and each show responds to its site rather as installation an does, though it's rare that installation artists give incisive attention to other artists' work. Hendeles actually calls her exhibitions "curatorial compositions," a name that teases out their mix of practices. "The Wedding (The Walker Evans Polaroid Project!" was her Hrst, long-overdue exhibition in New York.

The show s contents were: a group of replica (good replica i Stickles settles, child-size; a replica Stickley table, also child-size; an Atget photograph of a Paris storefront in around 1900, a ghostly girl faintly visible inside the dark doorway; an 1887 Eadweard Muybndge animal study, from 1 887, of a stork, half flying, half running; eight photographs by Roni Horn of stuffed birds, dated I 998-2007; eighty-three architectural photographs by Walker Kva.ns--forty-year-old Polaroids, their colors at once rich, strange, and faded; a giant Victorian birdcage, suggesting perhaps St. Paul's Cathedral, perhaps the Taj Mahal; and a beautifully carpentered nineteenth-century wooden model of a cooper's workshop, glass ceilinged to allow a view in. Inventoried this way, the show's materials seem disparate yet present a few themes: the recurring bird imagery, the miniature, the extremely high level of craft, a drift toward the past (on Evans's part as much as on HendeltsVi--none of which, however, necessarily relates to a wedding, the show's title. Nor does this list hint at the power of the installation, with the Atget and Muybridge photographs, and the cooper's workshop on its Stickley table, set up in an anteroom to the main space, where the settles on the floor and Evans's Polaroids in a single line around the walls, broken at four points by Horn's larger images, formed concentric rings around the elaborate birdcage.

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