Where Man Has His Place

by William Meyers

Max Kozloff

The Wall Street Journal


Max Kozloff has been a presence in the New York art world since he arrived here midcentury from his native Chicago. He has written and/or edited for The Nation, Art International and Artforum, written books on art and photography, taught at New York University and the School of Visual Arts, and curated exhibitions, including the Jewish Museum’s “New York: Capital of Photography” (2002). And he has exhibited his own work since 1977. The images at Higher Pictures include 13 color prints of window displays, 20 inches by 16 inches, and an additional dozen that are 2-by-3.

The pictures have a slightly faded look that is a relief from the DayGlo colors of contemporary photography. The subjects of the larger prints include “Third Avenue Watch and Pawn Shop” (1979), “Zipper Shop” (1978), “Hispanic Haberdashery” (1978), “Plumber’s Window” (1977) and “Twine Shop” (1984). None of this is upscale merchandise, but Mr. Kozloff is a man of the left, and considers the show’s title, “New York Means Business,” “sardonic.” Among the most appealing of the smaller pictures are “Lonely Fish” (1977), a single goldfish in a bowl sitting on a white column, a haiku of an image; “Novelty Shop Window” (1977), whose colors and composition anticipate Martin Parr; the “Emporium for Nostalgic Knicknacks” (1977), with its sign advertising sarsaparilla; and “Model Hairdos” (1977), a bevy of wigs on dummy heads unaware they lack bodies.


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