In ‘Greater New York’ at PS1, Sara Cwynar Touches The Art

THE DAILY PIC: Singular masterpieces really live close at hand, in reproduction.


THE DAILY PIC (#1465): Okay, so like most critics – like most artists – I’m a sucker for art about art. This color photo by Sara Cwynar, the last of this week’s Pics from the “Greater New York” show at PS1, gives a lovely, accurate view of how we almost always come across art: with our hands all over it, in reproductions of every size and color. Thanks to good ol’ mechanical reproduction, the singular work of art is in fact encountered, day to day, as a spreading multiplicity.

Cwynar’s Encyclopedia Grid (Abstract Art) might seem to belong to an old-fashioned, pre-Google world: She found her Mondrian reproductions in printed encyclopedias in those quaint old warehouses called “libraries”; she shot her final image on a giant 8 X 10 sheet of film. It seems to me, however, that her analog object works fine as a metaphorical pointer to our digital reality: After all, there’s a sense that all art is analog, at heart; we can’t perceive the digital or get our brains to read zeros and ones. Whatever the digital steps in between, our knowledge of Mondrian begins life with things, and ends up in our analog eyes. (Courtesy the artist and Foxy Production, New York)

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