Lee Friedlander: Nudes & Mannequin
Pace Gallery - 10.27.12
Rotary telephones, cigarette packages, and analog alarm clocks set the backdrop for Lee Friedlander’s hirsute nudes, taken between the years of 1977 and 1991. At the forefront of the exhibit was a print of a naked Madonna in 1979, the original of which sold for $37,500 at Christie's in 2009.
Despite sporting full frontal nudity, the women in Friedlander’s images are not particularly sexually charged. They appear naked almost as an afterthought, as if caught off-guard in their unkempt and lonely apartments. If the models appear attractive, it may be only by virtue of their own natural beauty overpowering the lens. At times, the women are posed in such a contorted manner it is either meant to be a joke or a morbid attempt to put pretty girls in their place.
It is unclear if the unshaven state of the women’s bodies is a product of the time, or more a result of Friedlander’s own personal aesthetic. Either way, there is copious pubic and leg hair, which serves to detract even more from any perceived sexuality. The photos are at once both celebratory and fetishistic.
The exhibit christened a new relationship between Friedlander and Pace Gallery, where he is now being represented in New York. Nudes is on display until December 22, in conjunction with Mannequins on the 9th floor of the same gallery.
- Kyria Abrahams