opened Jan 28, 2016
the show ran Jan 28 – March 12, 2016
Gagosian Gallery, 522 West 21st St, Chelsea, NYC

more background info: Gregory Crewdson, ‘Cathedral of the Pines’ – Gagosian Gallery

the thing about GREGORY CREWDSON is . . he weaves a mighty fine spell.
who wants to break the MYSTERY, and the ENCHANTMENT . . . by posting the opening pix right away ?
not me.



JARED LeBOFF . . will be a producer on Gregory Crewdson’s next project, a full-length fictional narrative . . film.
“Oscar-nominated ‘Bridge of Spies’ producer MARC PLATT has optioned CARLA BUCKLEY’s novel The Deepest Secret, with the plan for renowned art photographer GREGORY CREWDSON and his partner JULIANE HIAM to adapt it for the big screen. CREWDSON will be making his feature directorial debut.

The book, published in 2014 by Bantam, is an intimate family drama that explores the profound power of the truths we’re scared to face: about our marriages, our children, and ourselves. PLATT & JARED LeBOFF are producing for Marc Platt Productions.”
Photographer Gregory Crewdson Taking Shot At Movie Biz With ‘The Deepest Secret’ & Producer Marc Platt

ZOE KAZAN, and PAUL DANO, made the opening . .
so did . . .


and, WES ANDERSON. (!!)

GREGORY CREWDSON, ‘Woman in Living Room’, 2013.
Digital Pigment Print.
45-1/16 x 57-9/16 in. framed.
Edition of 3.

I overheard at the opening, that the show was completely sold out before it had even opened.

there was a lot of nudity in these photos – even more notable, as nakedness per se . . is not being seen too much in the art world these days, maybe on some critics’ IG pages, but not in the exhibited works. but it is a very characteristic, and very important tool for Crewdson. the nakedness reinforces the vulnerability, & the sense of alienation and loneliness that seems to engulf and swallow up whole, his rural, small town North East Kingdom lonely hearts characters.
it’s not a sexy or erotic nakedness, it is a kind of scientific, social study nakedness. a visual code – for human behavior . . that is just not going right. It draws you in, esp in the way the vignettes are staged . . . for sure. and that’s part of the magic.

the retro details, are also part of the magic, the mystery, the atmosphere . . and that hard to define . . but definitely tension-filled, wavering Crewdson ‘reality’ . . his signature ‘staged’ or ‘artificial’ narrative & absolutely fictional reality . . contrasting with the authenticity of the tiniest of ‘real’ details.
it’s a strange poet’s naked world, a world of lost dreams, rather than any real steamy passion, or desire. it’s about desire, but not of the erotic vein. desire of the . . soul.

the vintage retro details also serve to set the emotional stage, and the time window. somewhere between post-Woodstock, and . . pre-digital. the landline vs the wireless social media web. communication is there, or rather the device is: but nobody is talking – on the phone.

and you wonder why melancholy seeps up like a toxic invisible force – from these gorgeous, somber photos, that’s one of the answers.
tangible visual symbols, and cues . . at play.
and, on another level, if you ever wonder why ‘vintage’, is so in vogue now / here’s one of your answers.

Gregory Crewdson’s ‘cinematic’ photographs are also about . . ‘scale’. the fragility of the human existence within the broader picture. the singular . . failure of hope ? joy ? family ? infrastructure ? the erosion of ‘organized’ faith ?

which bye the way . . allows the photographer himself . . to reside in a converted local church, which is presumably no longer relevant in its original role to the community – it once bound together.

on another purely technical level, it’s also of interest to note that although these photos are indeed gorgeous, and spaced-out most generously within the gallery, only one to a wall . . and still capable of provoking deep & profound emotions in the viewer – and although the gallery defines them as ‘large’ format – Crewdson’s previous photographs were quite more epic in size/scale. for example in Crewdson’s – ‘Beneath the Roses’ exhibit of spring/summer 2005 – some of the photos were as large as walls, themselves: 56-1/4 x 94-1/4 in. time to evolve, time to move on.

GREGORY CREWDSON, ‘The Shed’, 2013.
Digital Pigment Print.
45-1/16 x 57-9/16 framed.
Edition of 3.

light sources, artificial and controlled, along with tightly ‘posed’ subjects – help tell the ‘anonymous’ yet universal, unspoken human story. which sees to be quite the . . tragedy.

the light & the posed bodies .. create the ‘focus’ – amid the seamless clash of . . detailed fictional reality vs hidden but deep, and forlorn . . human emotions.
for me, as for many others . . these photos act as ‘one frame’ films – and the effect is not, any less chilling . . than a recent full-length film, not any less violent in its take on the sad Bio contemopary human condition / the void / the spiritual void. and that would be: ‘THE REVENANT’, which also featured giant Pine trees.
what is it . . about Pine trees ?
how they can morph from Christmas – to desolation . . in a split second.

some more gorgeous, vintage detail. they add a real depth, a profound character to the images. they stand in for: wisdom ? experience ? lost skills ? lost lives ?
lost – ways.

falling into a . . Crewdson, is easy.
and that’s what makes them so EPIC, nothing to do with the actual scale of the photographs themselves. it’s the details, the theatrical set-ups, the lighting. the care. the aim. and in these photos: his aim is true.

Digital Pigment Print.
45-1/16 x 57-9/16 in. framed.
Edition of 3.

yeah, time-wise: somewhere between Woodstock . . and Facebook.

GREGORY CREWDSON, ‘Woman in Parked Car’, 2014.
Digital Pigment Print.
45-1/16 x 9/16 in. framed.
Edition of 3.

my favorite CREWDSON photo projects, they all involve production crews . . have always been his . . snowy, snowy snow scenes.
the atmosphere, the chill, the warmth of light sources, the coldness of existence.
bleak beauty. almost: brut.

watch: GREGORY CREWDSON talk about his filmmaking esp the technical aspects, including getting all that detail !!

if you have not seen the unbelievably fine, feature-length documentary on CREWDSON, & which includes many epic snow scenes & is all about . . intense behind-the-scenes peeks at his way of doing things . . the amazing ‘Brief Encounters’, 2012 . . by BEN SHERMAN, than that’s – at the top of your to-do list, as of right now.

see: the ‘Brief Encounters’ trailer & the official film site

the beauty of the . . artifice.

PABLO SCHLUMBERGER, a visiting artist from Hamburg, wears an appropriate coat . . a faux / artifice . . cold/warm ‘fur’.

CREWDSON – in a nutshell: just as crazy as a ‘faux’ fox. or a lone wolf. or a grizzly bear.

the Millennials . . taking it all in.
‘Cathedral of the Pines’, lived up to its name – and was un-doubtably, the most important blue chip show of the year.