With only six months down, this year has already been a very strong one for photography lovers. With both the Diane Arbus and Thomas Demand retrospectives sadly done and gone, however, it's great to see that we'll still have something to keep us sated over the long summer months, namely the Lee Freidlander retrospective opening this Sunday at MOMA.
Friedlander, whose strange and often haunting photographs of the American social landscape have long been favorites of ours, was born in 1934 and began photographing in 1948. Like his (rough) contemporaries Robert Frank, Gary Winogrand, and Diane Arbus, Friedlander's photographs blend together the rich visual legacy of previous social documentarians like Eugene Atget, Bernice Abbott, and Walker Evans, and Brassai. His work, however, is marked by a purposefully visual distortion, which infuse what would often otherwise be banal images of streets scenes, hotel rooms, and views from car windows, with an eerie sense of the strangeness of American culture.
Like Atget, Friedlander often works in series, over the years producing sets of images dedicated to self-portraits, architecture, street scenes, and factory workers among others. Our personal favorite, however, is his series on television sets from the 1960s, in which his camera echoes, and in some ways amplifies, the constant presence of the new American visual obsessions. Can you guess we're a sucker for meta critiques?
The exhibit, which will contain over 500 of Friedlander's photographs, will be on view at MOMA through August 29th.