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"Walker Evans Approximately'": Photographs, 1934 to 1956
Artists' Space
Through May 21

Recently artist Sherrie Levine mounted an unauthorized exhibit in the form of "rephotographed" works of photographer Edward Weston, using images taken from books, catalogs and magazines. Weston's estate threatened legal action.

For her next project, Ms. Levine has simulated a Walker Evans exhibition, copying a number of of Mr. Evans' haunting Appalachian realist photographs from the 1930s and '40s, using reproductions in books and magazines as guides. The works on view include the famous photo of a weathered couple on a porch ringed by scrawny urchins, and the curled, beat-up farmer's shoes that have been compared to Van Gogh's genre studies.

The show might be seen as a chance to think about an oeuvre that remains pertinent to what artists like Sally Mann, William Christenberry, and Sebastiao Salgado are doing these days. Unfortunately, it is easier to see it as an attention-seeking stunt. No one who values Mr. Evans' work is going to care about seeing inexact substitutes, and no serious critical judgments about his art should be based on such ersatz objects.

The show might raise interesting questions about art and commerce, but Ms. Levine should make it clear whether she is a photographer or doing her own conceptual art. Otherwise her project comes off as confused, confusing and duplicitous. KEN JOHNSON

That's not really a parody, it's almost word for word what New York Times critic Ken Johnson wrote about Triple Candie's Cady Noland show. Next up, another artist who needs to make it clear what he's doing: Richard Prince.

- tom moody 5-14-2006 7:59 am [link]