Poet Stephen Spender detected the “glaze and gleam of the modern” in the first Herbert List photographs he saw in Hamburg in 1929, and viewers of the 42 prints at Stephen Daiter can find those qualities in the stark chair and its shadow in Terrace by the Sea (1937). But List didn’t have a signature style; the boy in a doorway in Morning (1937), one of the photographer’s many homoerotic images, is seen through a transparent cloth, making him more sensual. Most intriguing are the images in which people are depicted paradoxically, sometimes with a bit of humor. In Vittorio de Sica (1961) the famous director, his collar turned up, naps on a set in the lower right corner, his slight tilt echoed in the wide-awake young sailors behind him. Here List’s off-center framing and skewed angles seem to undercut the pridefulness of the human figure, as they do in the melancholy Plaster Casts Academy I (1946), which shows the ruins of Munich’s art school and an upright cast that looks almost alive compared to two leaning ones. Stephen Daiter Gallery, 311 W. Superior, suite 404, through April 24. Hours are 11 to 6 Friday and Saturday; 312-787-3350.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Stephen Daiter Gallery.