Elena Dorfman Edwynn Houk Gallery
745 Fifth Avenue
Through February 26
A straightforward description of Elena Dorfman's show18 big color photographs of people and the life-size silicone sex dolls they live withwould be a bit misleading. Although Dorfman's work features a small population of ripe-figured females, most of whom look like runners-up for Playmate of the Month, sex takes a backseat to sociology here. True, one of the dolls, Taffy, sprawls open-legged on a chaise longue, brazenly offering a glimpse of hairless vagina under her gaping shorts. But her mousy male owner, sipping from a coffee mug on a sofa nearby, defuses whatever erotic charge that scene might have. If this is the fetish frontier, it's solidly middle class and surprisingly tame but unsettling nonetheless. Dorfman discovered that many of the dolls have become not naked fuck slaves but carefully dressed friends and muses. One sits at the kitchen table between a woman and her young son; another relaxes on the lawn next to a man focused on his laptop. At once perverse and pathetic, these discreet scenarios can only hint at the doll owners' terrible need for companionship. Love is strange, but imaginary domesticity is truly bizarre.