DATE: May 29, 2010
The not so fine line between kitsch and art gets
blurred repeatedly in this canny, diverting exhibition, "Artifice: Photo
Illustration in America circa 1925-1960." The exhibit features staged
and manipulated images by Anton Bruehl, Edward Steichen, George
Hoyningen-Huene, Louise Dahl-Wolfe, and a slew of other successful
editorial and advertising photographers.
While there's little subtlety involved in the
product pitches (an early console radio appears to levitate before its
astonished owner), their visual inventiveness covers a broad range of
pre-Photoshop strategies, from rear projection to photomontage. Whether
sophisticated or vulgar, these photographs set a lively precedent for
Gregory Crewdson, Erwin Olaf, and other contemporary creators of
From The New Yorker.