Frederick Sommer
 
03/08/10
 
New Yorker Review: Best known as a photographer, Sommer (1905-99) never restricted himself to one medium, and this sprawling, museum-quality survey shows how closely his photography, drawing, painting, and collage work were linked. The photographs cover a lot of ground: desert landscapes, portraits, and nudes as well as pictures of cut-paper constructions, found-object assemblages, and Dubuffet-style abstractions conjured from smoke on glass or paint on cellophane. Hung alongside spidery drawings or more fluid, densely worked paintings, a wall of these images could spark enough energy to power the gallery. Collages of anatomical etchings underline the physicality of much of the material and continue Sommer’s far from morbid focus on decay and mortality. Through March 20. (Silverstein, 535 W. 24th St. 212-627-3930.)