DEAR DAVE,

Patti Smith wrote, “In the straw-colored light/In the light rapidly changing/On a life rapidly fading/Have you seen death singing.” The eminent critic and curator, Lyle Rexer, has contributed a rumination on the work of Marcia Lippman, and placed it in a geographic history of cultural imagination. In the gloaming, the pictures are altars stained by sorrow; fugitive and ethereal. Remnants of the dead are coaxed into light.

It could be argued that the medium of photography has enabled the celebrity addiction that has dominated popular culture in the last 40 years. Anna Bauer has photographed the celebrated in the fashion community and these Polaroids, backstage at fashion shows in New York and Paris, provide an immediate and spontaneous depiction of those whose relationship to photography is more often as a spectacle: stylized and theatrical.

Greg Krauss has created a cumulative portrait of his father as a solitary everyman. The work suggests that the aloof and awkward banality of daily life also contains moments of almost mystic beauty and emotional depth.

An early history of photography would include the photograph as a partner in an era of exploration that conveyed a vista of unknown landscapes to the comfort of home, and the work of Domingo Milella references that history. The photographs carefully witness a palimpsest of time and archeology of place where the past and present fuse as a layered urban lingua. They are places where the dead and satellite dishes concur, and building and demolition are simultaneous.

Well known for his pale, diffused figurative work, Bill Jacobson contributes a new body of work, “A Series of Human Decisions” in which he observes layers of surface detail, and the accumulation of objects that form an often geometric arrangement imbued with a quietude and elegance of form, and of human presence.

Originally a medium of formality and occasion, photography has become casual and notational. Ari Marcopoulos teases a familiar vernacular of photography to form groupings of images, often of family, that are unpretentious and naturalistic, and reflect the ubiquity of photography in daily life. Of interest here is the pleasure of the local that forms a boyish portrait, encoded among playful objects, costume, gestures and markings.

In Bogota for the week, back on Friday.

Thanks & love,
Stephen