What she said

Roberta Smith in the NY Times on Gregory Crewdson at Luhring Augustine:

Mr. Crewdson's images compress the melodrama of an entire movie, or soap-opera season, into a single, elaborately constructed scene. They represent art imitating popular art, which means that they have the clarity, for us, that a stained glass window would have had in the Middle Ages.

But Pre-Raphaelite paintings may be a better analogy. These photographs have become ornate, hollow, implicitly academic exercises, so freighted with telltale omens and contrivances and so monotonously joyless that they start to seem light, almost comic.


Mr. Crewdson needs to discover some new feelings or reinvent his medium, because theatrical craft has overtaken his art. This has come at the expense of the imaginative uses of color, scale or space - in short, form - that both balanced and heightened the creepiness of his early set-up photographs. It makes sense that he has said that his next project will be a film. It may be time to tackle the challenge of duration with characters who can move, speak and stand up to their surroundings. Either that, or Mr. Crewdson might consider dismissing his superbly skilled crew and taking up street photography. The REAL real world has it merits.

I found it depressing to look at work that took so much money and effort, and falls flat. A huge production budget, bigger than some indie films, shouldn't be necessary to make a photograph.

Yeah, I was really bored at that show. There are a lot of Orozco photos that beat these hands down, and I imagine that they were made in matter of minutes or seconds at almost no cost.

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Published on June 5, 2005 1:48 PM.

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