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APRIL 2, 2009   

Friedlancer banner from Cleveland Museum of  Art@ CMA

If you enjoy contemporary American photography, or photography, or America, you must see the exhibit of Lee Friedlander's work at the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA), closing May 31, 2009. I went yesterday with a friend and we spent about two hours working our way through the 100 images.

Friedlander shoots complex urban landscapes, often viewed as reflections in mirrors or store windows. He photographs nude women who are neither glamorous nor retouched, but are powerfully human. He's got a sly sense of humor that comes out in his series of letters and numbers found on walls and lightpoles called Letters from the People. He's got a way of catching people just entering or leaving a scene that brings motion to still photography.

The museum uncharacteristically uses bold, bright colors on some walls, including a lurid pink for the nudes and bright yellows and greens for some of the landscapes. It's a wonderful exhibit, well worth your time. Disappointingly, though, there are no postcards for sales of images from the exhibit, so unless you're willing to spend $45 for a catalog you can't take any of it home with you.

On a Wednesday afternoon it was good to see quite a few people at the museum, thanks in part, I'm sure, to the free admission policy. This is something I appreciate every time I go to another city and have to hand over $7-15 to go into a museum. So for cryin' out loud, Clevelanders, enjoy this place and this show!

Cleveland Museum of Art information (hours, address, etc.)

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2009 APRIL