New York Photo Review
NYPR Archives - 2010

David Goldblatt
Particulars and A Selection of Photographs
David Goldblatt, “Blanketed man at the trading store, Hobeni, Bomvanaland, Transki, 1975”

If you liked the major David Goldblatt exhibition about South Africa at the Jewish Museum, you’ll be surprised, pleasantly for sure, at the two small Goldblatt shows now at Howard Greenberg. One exhibition of eighteen 20”x20” black and white prints– mostly taken in 1975–is entitled Particulars and is completely and totally different from his documentary work. The title refers to the particulars of the body that Goldblatt photographed—an outgrowth of his childhood experience working in his father’s tailoring shop in Johannesburg where he became more conscious of bodily differences. In Particulars, folded hands, backs of heads, skin, hair and feet are often enough to communicate the racial and social divides of South Africa. The delights of this show are in the small details such as in ‘Man with Necklaces”–the photo shows a close-up of several necklaces hanging on a man’s hairy chest, the hair becoming part of the design and adding to its appeal. Another is “Grandmother and Child”–two pairs of bare black feet, at right angles, the image says much more about race and class than you thought possible. And still another, a little different than the rest, called ‘Handwork for Sale” shows hats, embroidery and jewelry for sale on a sidewalk, the black vendor’s feet, with one shoe off, casually resting on a tablecloth used for display, a white woman’s legs and feet across from her, with one heel on the ground. It grabs your attention.

“A Selection of Photographs is the title of the other Goldblatt show here—six images in all, a real mixed bag since there are four portraits; two of whites and two of blacks, plus a “portrait” of a shack under construction and a color print entitled “Blue asbestos fibers at the Owendale Asbestos Mine, 2002.” It’s the only image that’s not partly reminiscent of the South African show uptown. But these two exhibitions together—at Greenberg and the Jewish Museum— definitely show the range and depth of Goldblatt’s considerable talents.

 by unidentified photographer.
David Goldblatt, “Handwork for sale, Marine Parade, Durban, 1982”

David Goldblatt
Particulars and A Selection of Photographs

Howard Greenberg
41 E 57th St. 14th Fl
Midtown         Map

212 334 0010

Friday, April 30 to
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Hours: Tues - Sat, 10 to 6