Sly Vision

Calling Christopher Williams a photographer’s photographer might be somewhat reductive. Yet with his meticulously composed tableaux of sliced-open cameras, staged how-to guide photographs, or a faux stock photo of a model pictured alongside a Kodak color chart, Williams’s work reveals an obsession not just with the camera as an instrument, but with the commercial and political power of images as consumable objects. The artist, who studied with John Baldessari in the ’70s and now splits his time between Cologne and L.A., is the subject of his first major retrospective, open now at MoMA in New York. “Williams furthers a critique of late capitalist society in which images typically function as agents of spectacle,” says curator Roxana Marcoci. In addition to his photography, a selection of Williams’s Super-8 films, installation supergraphics, and architectural interventions will be on view.