Art

Ray K. Metzker: Atlantic City (1969)
photo: Lawrence Miller Gallery
Ray K. Metzker: Atlantic City (1969)

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Ray K. Metzker
Laurence Miller
20 West 57th Street
Through March 20
The small color photographs Duane Hanson made as studies for his hyper-realist sculpture fill the gallery's main space. Nearly 1,000 were found in his archives after he died in 1996; they were never meant to be exhibited. This selection, posthumously organized in simple grids, falls short of the obvious Warhol model, and the photos end up looking dumber than they are. Hanson cultists may be fascinated. The rest of us can find refuge in the smaller room here, where Miller has hung one of the best shows in town: 24 Ray K. Metzker photos made in Atlantic City between 1966 and 1977 that reassert the importance of the artist as protean visionary. As one of the most formally inventive photographers around, Metzker has an especially keen eye for the sort of serendipitous confusion that can take an ordinary image on a visual left turn. His pictures of people sprawled on the sand are full of sensuous heat, but Metzker's best series involves the interplay of abstraction and representation that has become his signature: Walking under the boardwalk, figures in deep shadow are striped with slatted bars of light—a geometric pattern that turns this enclosed scene into a brilliant cubist landscape.
 
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