DAILY PIC: This is one of Jackie Nickerson’s images of Africans obscured by the commodities that they gather to survive, now on view at Jack Shainman Gallery in New York. I imagine that these images reflect the feeling anyone can have that they are drowning in the goods and tools of their trade. But what strikes me about this photo, and some others in the Shainman show, is how they echo the painted devices of Jackson Pollock and his ilk. This could be a classic example of pseudomorphic formalism (watch this lecture by scholar Yve-Alain Bois), deliberately invoked by Nickerson. Or it could be that AbEx artists got at a certain kind of anxious, chaotic plenty that’s a feature of reality, and that we’re up against every time we try to extract value from the world around us.
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