New York Photo Review
NYPR Archives - 2010

Kent Klich
Gaza Photo Album
R. Wayne Parsons

Wars, even small wars, are nasty business. This unsurprising finding is part of the message of Kent Klich’s exhibition at Umbrage Gallery in Dumbo.

In the month or two after the event Mr. Klich photographed interiors of houses damaged in the Israeli incursion into Gaza in December, 2008 and January, 2009. One need go no further than the name of the gallery to realize that this work is not dispassionate documentation, but rather advocacy for the Palestinian cause; text in the accompanying book states that Israeli actions against the Palestinians since 1948 are “in clear violation of international law”, a conclusion this reviewer finds hard to fault.

The photos in this exhibition do not have a great deal of purely visual appeal; their effectiveness depends on the social and political significance of what they show. The houses are unoccupied, and no peoples are present in any of the images. We see furniture in disarray, rubble-strewn rooms, bullet-pocked walls, and an occasional hole in a wall or roof; indeed the worst damage pictured is a hole several feet across in the roof of one home. The most poignant image is the simplest: an upright iron on an ironing board in front of an interior wall with a half dozen or so bullet pocks –- we read loss and sudden displacement.

If there is a weakness in these images as advocacy it is that devastation is not extreme; for the most part it appears that these homes could be readily repaired with a crew of masons and the like. One wonders how many of these homes have been reoccupied in the intervening year.

Kent Klich
Gaza Photo Album

111 Front St. 2nd Fl
Dumbo Brooklyn         Map

212 796 2707

Thursday, January 7 to
Friday, February 26, 2010
Hours: Mon to Fri, 12 to 6