Sarah Charlesworth: Work in Progress @Inglett

JTF (just the facts): A total of 11 works on view: 8 Fuji Crystal archive prints/diptychs from the Work in Progress series, all from 2009, in editions of 8, in color co-ordinated lacquer frames with no mat, hung in the main gallery and reception, and 3 additional works from the Action Photos series, hung in a side alcove, 30×24 color Polaroids, made in 2006, in black frames with no mat. (Installation shots at right.)

Comments/Context: Given her inclusion in the big Pictures Generation show now on view at the Met (our review here), Sarah Charlesworth is likely riding a resurgent wave of attention at the moment. This show of recent work at Susan Inglett is a good way to get up to speed on what she’s doing these days.

From afar, the main works on display have a posterish, graphic design feel, dark black silhouettes of cameras, easels, rulers, t-squares and the like, arrayed against areas of saturated primary color. Up close, the viewer can see that these are not actually cut outs, but carefully constructed and pared down photographs of these still life objects. The effect is a Stuart Davis/Piet Mondrian style focus on the interplay of dark line and colored space, with an underlying dose of staged, straightforward commercial product photography. The images are eye catching to be sure, but don’t have much depth for further investigation.

In the back room, there are three dark stop-motion photographs of drips and swirls of colored paint from another recent body of work, a Jackson Pollock meets Harold Edgerton kind of mashup.

Collector’s POV: Most of the works in this show are being sold in upward ratcheting editions (prices increase as the edition sells out); nearly all of the works begin at $7500, with the others starting at $6000, $13500, or $20000 respectively. The color Polaroids in the back room are priced at $4000 each. The secondary market for Charlesworth’s work has been quite thin, with very few sales in the past five years, and very little pattern emerging from those data points. That said, the positive publicity from the Pictures Generation will certainly raise her prices at least in the short term.

Rating: * (one star) GOOD (rating system described here)

Transit Hub:
  • Artist site (here)
  • BOMB magazine interview, 1990 (here)
Through June 13th

522 West 24th Street
New York, NY 10011

Sarah Charlesworth, Susan Inglett Gallery

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