Shirana Shahbazi (b. 1974) makes photographs in classic genres like portraiture, still life, and landscape. Alternating between abstraction and representation, her vividly colored pictures are made in the crisp style of commercial studio photography without the aid of digital tools. She achieves her abstract compositions, such as Composition-40-2011 (2011) by photographing geometric volumes and pedestals whose sides are painted various colors, making multiple exposures of the same set of elements, and turning them between exposures to create an interplay between surface and depth.
This work is by an artist from a nation whose citizens would be denied entry into the United States according to recent presidential executive orders. This is one of several such artworks from the Museum of Modern Art’s collection installed throughout its fifth floor galleries to affirm the ideals of welcome and freedom as vital to MoMA, as they are to the United States.
By photographing the interior scene depicted in Missing Children (Captiva) (1988) at eye level and printing the image at life scale, JoAnn Verburg provides a point of entry for the viewer: one can easily imagine sitting at this table. At first glance, the work depicts a cheerful, everyday moment; yet the milk carton’s images and descriptions of missing children inject the dangers of the world outside into the intimate setting. Verburg explains that the photograph involves “putting a lyrical, private moment together with difficulty — the political, public side of life.”
Elad Lassry (born 1977, Tel Aviv, Israel) is an Israeli-American artist who lives and works in Los Angeles. His chromogenic color prints — still life compositions, stock images, photocollages and studio portraits of friends and celebrities — never exceed the dimensions of a magazine page or spread and are displayed in frames that derive their colors from the dominant hues in the photographs. I love how this photo looks so much like an ad, and thus succeeds on the same level as the work of Andy Warhol to elevate commercial images to the realm of fine artwork.
Nailpolish (2009) is a new acquisition to the photography collection of the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.