show at Lisson
photographs terribly, and it’s immersive in a way that’s totally Instagram-unfriendly—one of my favorite types of exhibitions. It’s a refreshing reminder that even in the age of mechanical reproduction and social media, some in-person art experiences are still sacred.
The exhibition represents the first-ever comprehensive presentation of Colmer’s 1975–76 series “Doors, NYC.” For nearly a year, Colmer photographed every building he passed in New York City. The project resulted in over 3,000 images, capturing Manhattan from tip to tail. At Lisson, the shots are arranged in rows, by block. In one steel frame, for example, minimal text introduces the images: “Canal Street between Mercer Street and Greene Street. Odd numbers.” Trash bags, plaid shirts, and a bike propped in a doorway give character to the façades. Dated typography and signage proudly announce the names of shops and housing: Drama Book Shop, Pocahontas Apartments, and Yankel House of Pile Fabrics. Sometimes, a dark doorway reflects Colmer himself.
Walking among this incredible documentation of the city’s surfaces as they appeared 45 years ago, you might find yourself admiring the exquisite detail in Colmer’s instantly nostalgic work. No matter what your current relationship is with the city, you might find yourself once again enamored. As the Zen saying goes, “Attention is the most basic form of love.”