"Barbara Crane"

by Vince Aletti

Barbara Crane

The New Yorker



One of the few women photographers to emerge from Chicago’s legendary Institute of Design, Crane shows modestly scaled black-and-white work that picks up on the school’s tradition of Bauhaus-inflected experimentation and graphic innovation. Her first solo exhibition in a New York gallery is a teaser, sampling work from the sixties and seventies that hovers tellingly between representation and abstraction. Harry Callahan is the most obvious template; Crane’s elegantly calligraphic female nudes echo his, but her portraits of passersby, with their jazzy overlays of patterned neon, also suggest Ray Metzker. Influences aside, Crane, who turns eighty this year, is a woman on the verge of being rediscovered, and this is an excellent place to start. Through Jan. 26. (Higher Pictures, 764 Madison Ave., at 65th St. 212-249-6100.)