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New York Times

August 18th, 1995
Art In Review
Bonni Benrubi Gallery

‘Summer Salon II (Pictures We Like)’

By CHARLES HAGEN
 
Even calling this group show a potpourri makes it sound more or­dered than it appears to be at first glance. But similarities of subject matter and style among its diverse works, suggest thematic threads.

Different aspects of New York City, for example, are evoked by Weegee’s shot of lovers at Coney Island and Andreas Feininger’s tele photo vista of the Manhattan sky­line framed by smokestacks in New Jersey. Another city image by Mr. Feininger, of squat rooftop water towers covered with snow, finds darker counterparts in Wolf von dem Bussche’s images of downtown buildings reduced by fog and mist to Minimalist gray shapes.

The theme of performances forms a surprising link between Nat Fein’s famous 1948 image of an ailing Babe Ruth bowing to the Yan­kee Stadium crowd and Rhona Bitner’s contemporary color vi­gnettes of circus clowns and acro­bats isolated in the spotlight. And the dramatic lighting of Ms. Bitner’s photographs invites com­parison with James Wojcik’s neo­-Bauhaus closeups of cardboard constructions, in which deep shad­ows complicate the intricate archi­tecture of the geometric cutouts.

Also fitting loosely under the ru­bric of performances are Marianne Courville’s grainy color prints evoking blowups of vacation film clips. In one, a girl pauses to feed deer at a petting zoo; in another the blotchy figures of a boy and girl running across a pale brown beach suggest fugitives seen from a police helicopter. Photos by Dick Arentz of wire-backed park chairs ar­ranged in a sweeping spiral seem related to Mr. Wojcik’s small con­structions, and Tom Bamberger’s large black-and-white image of the midway of a state fair suggest a theme of celebrations. But many viewers will no doubt choose to find their own themes in this pleasura­ble hodgepodge of a show.