Christopher Alessandrini is a writer based in New York, where he works in the digital department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (March 2019)

NYR DAILY

‘Boys Do It Better’: The Paintings of Louis Fratino

Louis Fratino: Me and Ray, 2018

The twenty-five paintings in “Come Softly to Me”—Fratino’s first solo show at Sikkema Jenkins & Co.—range from gem-like portraits of friends and lovers to larger scenes of city life to a trio of alluring box lids, each measuring roughly 3.5 x 3.5 inches. Known primarily for his graphic but tender representations of queer intimacy, often set in the same apartment, Fratino here swaps domestic tranquility for psychogeography. Many of the featured works were made following a breakup, during a period marked by long walks around the city; they certainly embody an ambivalent relationship to this sudden windfall of hours. For all the new faces and encounters, the prevailing mood is one of charged solitude.

Graciela Iturbide, Visionary Ethnographer

Graciela Iturbide: Baile (Dance), Juchitán, México, 1986

According to Iturbide, there are—pace Cartier-Bresson—two “decisive moments” in photography: “One, when you take the photo; and two, when you discover it in the contact sheet, because you often think you took one photo, and another comes out.” But perhaps there is a third decisive moment in Iturbide’s photography, the moment a relationship begins. When Iturbide first spotted Díaz at the Juchitán market, in her halo of iguanas, she asked to take her picture. In Our Lady of the Iguanas (1979), Díaz is vaulted from the market’s everyday bustle into the realm of myth.