New York Photo Review
NYPR Archives - 2010

Bad Case of the Cutes
Charlotte Dumas
reviewer #1
Charlotte Dumas, Reward, 2009

Uh oh. We have been hearing about it all over town, spotted in even the toniest joints. Yes, and now even the Julie Saul gallery has come down with it. What’s that? No, I’m talking about a bad case of the cutes.

In the current exhibit at Julie Saul, Dutch photographer Charlotte Dumas has collected a roomful of adorable furry mammals: dogs in cardboard boxes, wolves in the wild, curled up in the snow with their tails warming their noses, tigers, apparently in someone’s backyard, and a nice black horse. Almost all have those deep soulful eyes that makes you just want to reach out and – respect them.

Ms. Dumas has a good, painterly eye, and the lighting in many of her pictures is exquisite. Also, unlike so many other Chelsea shows this season, the show is neither pretentious nor are the prices too outrageous. And it’s not that I have anything against animal pictures either, why could be one of my favorite websites (did you see those boxer puppies on the treadmill? :)

 by unidentified photographer.
Charlotte Dumas, Nero, 2004

The real problem here is just poor print quality. Take the horse. When we first see ‘Nero’ from across the room, he seems like a classic. But don’t throw away that old George Stubbs yet, because, as you begin to get closer you don’t see those confident, Stubbsian strokes of color, rather Nero, and the whole picture, is infested with a teaming swarm of cyan, magenta and yellow bedbug-sized dots. Really rather unpleasant. And why in a set-up picture like this?

So in a world where a quick flickr search turns up 401,384 ‘cute dog’ pictures, and 103,748 ‘black horse’ pictures, what gives here? Maybe its those eyes.

Charlotte Dumas

Julie Saul
535 W 22nd St. 6th Fl
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212 627 2410

Thursday, November 4 to
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Hours: Tue-Sat, 11 to 6