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In 200 Words: Harriet Leibowitz’s Southern Season at Alan Avery Art Company

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Installation image, Harriet Leibowitz, Southern Season, Alan Avery Art Company, September 6-October 5, 2013, Photo courtesy of the Alan Avery Art Company.
Installation image, Harriet Leibowitz, Southern Season, Alan Avery Art Company, September 6-October 5, 2013, Photo courtesy of the Alan Avery Art Company.

Upon entering Harriet Leibowitz’s ultra-campy exhibition Southern Season, on view through October 5 at the Alan Avery Art Company, I was instantly instructed not to use the real names of the notable Atlanta socialites sprinkled throughout the splashy digital photographs. Well known for her charged shots of male nudes, Leibowitz shifted her focus to the abounding control commanded by a select set of women. It would have been easy for me to gloss over these privileged types, if the artist hadn’t unveiled the secret lives of her subjects—which included murder, boy toys, depression, sadomasochism, and a strap-on! The humanity present in the females chosen by Leibowitz created a metaphysical show that focused on what actually is versus what people notice at first glance. She fervently believes that women run society: that they dominate their husbands, charities, and the city.

The F Word at Hunter Museum

Different women are pictured in the series, but I came away with the feeling that they could all be the same individual. In Pass The Salt, Please, a striking blonde has used a revolver to kill her dinner partner and is nonchalantly finishing her meal, while his head rests gently atop a plate of food.

Pass The Salt Please,, Harriet Leibowitz, Pass The Salt, Please., 2013, archival digital print, 26 x 40 inches unframed, 35 x 48 inches framed, Photo courtesy of the Alan Avery Art Company.
Harriet Leibowitz, Pass The Salt Please, 2013, archival digital print, 26 x 40 inches unframed, 35 x 48 inches framed, Photo courtesy of the Alan Avery Art Company.

Leibowitz’s works of a more allegorical nature had a beautiful, almost cinematic quality about them, which at times aesthetically referenced the imagery of photographer Gregory Crewdson and pleasingly left more to my imagination than her more straightforward images. In Come Here Often? a woman sits at the kind of bar her kind of woman obviously doesn’t frequent, and she gazes at two men.

Harriet Leibowitz, Come Here Often?, 2013, archival digital print, 26 x 40 inches unframed, 35 x 48 inches framed, Photo courtesy of the Alan Avery Art Company.
Harriet Leibowitz, Come Here Often?, 2013, archival digital print, 26 x 40 inches unframed, 35 x 48 inches framed, Photo courtesy of the Alan Avery Art Company.

It is unclear whether she is there just to observe this spectacle for the sake of novelty, or if she actually will take these guys home with her. It is in these more narrative moments of magnificent transcendental quality that Leibowitz’s own power is set ablaze.