Goings On About Town

by Vince Aletti

Alfred Gescheidt: Photographs 1949 – 1979

The New Yorker


Gescheidt’s photographs, made between 1949 and 1979, are brash, crass, and bound to offend contemporary sensibilities. He worked in black-and-white and with a wide variety of pre-Photoshop collage and montage techniques to make memorably provocative pictures: a young preppy couple with babies’ heads, the Washington Monument as a stake for giant horseshoes, “American Gothic” restaged with Shirley Chisholm and George Wallace. Subtlety was not Gescheidt’s forte; his humor was broad and aimed at men, with bare breasts as objects of fun and a woman’s crotch looming like a dark, ominous cave before a miniature man. But if many of these images are tasteless period pieces, others (like a series on the difficulties of stopping smoking) remain pointed and alarmingly funny. Through Oct. 24. (Higher Pictures, 764 Madison Ave., at 65th St. 212-249-6100.)

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