Lee Friedlander: The Little Screens

Over the past thirty years the American photographer Lee Friedlander (born 1934) has extensively photographed what has been described as “the social landscape.” His work concerns itself not simply with the documentation of various cities but with the distillation and particular character of these places. Extensively traveled, Friedlander has had more than his share of hotel rooms and temporary lodgings. In the early 1960s, characteristic of his methods, Friedlander’s eye recurrently landed on television screens (then a relatively recent luxury appliance) in these lonely rooms. The half-light broadcast from the luminous boxes cast an unearthly pall over the quotidian objects of everyday life. As in his other work, it is in the unpredictable eclipses of sneezing faces and hanging towels, exercising women and upholstered chairs, that Friedlander captures the essence of a place, a time, and an era. This work was first published in Harper’s Bazaar magazine in 1963, accompanied by a brief essay by Walker Evans, who referred to these photographs as “deft, witty, spanking little poems of hate.”

Lee Friedlander is the recipient of countless awards and fellowships including a MacArthur grant (1990) and the MacDowell Colony Award (1986). His work is widely exhibited and published including most recently Letters from the People, The Jazz People of New Orleans, LIke a One-Eyed Cat, and Maria.

This exhibition is concurrent with Hiroshi Sugimoto: Still Life.