Chris Wiley

In Rockaway Redux Roe Ethridge continues to carve out his position as a kind of Paul Outerbridge for the post-modern era, creating pleasingly off-kilter photographs in a wild array of styles that refract the banal world of commercial photography to disquieting effect. None of these images go so far into the realm of the perverse as, say, Outerbridge’s Women with Claws (1937), but there is a feeling in Ethridge's images of too-pretty sunsets and his awkward nude posed in an art-historically confused studio setup that something just beneath the surface is amiss. Ethridge hints at the nature of this disturbance in the show’s press release, which takes a the form of a letter: “One of the reasons I’ve been so interested in this kind of displaced, broad scope approach is an effort to embrace the arbitrariness of the image and image making. For me serendipity and intention are both necessary. Another reason for the wild style is the dread of conclusiveness.

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On entering Rosler’s new show, visitors are asked to make a symbolic choice. You can pay a dollar and fritter away your time playing Dance Dance Revolution, the Japanese arcade game that’s basically the dance equivalent of karaoke, or for a quarter (a change machine is provided), go through a turnstile and see the show. The choice is congruent with the concerns of the work behind the turnstile, which is an update and an expansion of her Bringing the War Home: House Beautiful for an era with an eerily similar pugilistic quagmire.

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Joel Sternfeld’s Oxbow Archive, which is on view at Luhring Augustine Gallery through October 4 and accompanied by a catalog published by Steidl, is comprised of large-scale (5’ x 7’) prints of a single field in Massachusetts that Sternfeld has lovingly followed through the vicissitudes of the seasons and variegations of atmosphere and light. The show is suffused with a quietly elegiac grace that departs in aesthetic tone from the journalistic feel of much of his work after the landmark American Prospects. Thematically, however, the work is of a piece with Sternfeld’s most recent work in Sweet Earth: Experimental American Utopias and When It Changed, and while it is possible to approach this new body of work by itself, it is most interesting to begin by looking at it in the context of these predecessors.

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