Review: American ReConstruction at Winkleman Gallery


Exhibition Reviews


Ed Winkleman is on a roll. After staging #class (pronounced “hashtag class”, my own interpretation was funnier, yet turned out to be incorrect), there now is American ReConstruction, “an exhibition of new photography,” organized by Michael Hoeh. In a day and age where everybody supposedly is a curator, Michael Hoeh, of Modern Art Obsession fame, organized the show. Can we have a moment of silence now, so that this will sink in? (btw, if you click on the image above you can see a much larger version, and yes this wraps around a bit further than it should) (more)

American ReConstruction “features artists who construct photography-based work through an array of pre- and post-printing considerations or processes.” I’ll admit that when I first read that - before seeing the show - I was wondering whether this wasn’t maybe a tad too flimsy a concept to stage an exhibition around it. Turns out it isn’t. In fact, you (well, actually Michael Hoeh) can produce a very, very good show from such a concept, which not only presents a survey of sorts, but also, as a whole, has something to say.

They might as well have called it “curated” - of all the curated shows I saw this past weekend, this was one of the two (out of a grand total of six) that clearly worked.

Being wrong about something is not such a bad thing - it gives you the chance to learn something. I don’t want to pretend I figured out all the secrets behind American ReConstruction, but I have an inkling why what I thought was a flimsy concept in fact isn’t: It would have been, had the curator organizer taken it too literally and/or narrowly. But Michael Hoeh didn’t. In fact, it took me a while to see connections between the images in the show; and of course, that’s what makes American ReConstruction so compelling: It makes you think, it actually makes you discover things, and it’s fun.

So the exhibition is more than just the sum of its - btw excellent - parts, and for me, that is how a group show of photography turns into something bigger. But of course, I’ve written about this before, and I’m turning into that old broken record again.

Given I was very familiar with some of the work in American ReConstruction, picking highlights is a bit of an iffy endeavour (plus all the other artists will be mad at me). Still, Mark Lyon’s prints stood out - those are bold, beautiful photographs, filled with humour.

If you happen to be in Chelsea, American ReConstruction is not to be missed. It’s still on view until June 12, 2010.