Goings on About Town: Art

Susan Lipper

The New Yorker


These unflinching photographs of impoverished white men, taken more than twenty years ago in the tiny West Virginia town of Grapevine Branch, feel disconcertingly timely. Without sympathy or sentimentality, the pictures convey desperation, violence, and startling intimacy: a man fingering a scar on his stomach from a bullet wound suggests St. Thomas doubting himself; a one-eyed man with a six-shooter towers in a doorway like an angel of death; marijuana smoke is blown from mouth to mouth, in a gesture as tender as a kiss.

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