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Jimmy and Dena Katz: Salt Dreams

Michael Mazzeo Gallery
508 West 26th Street, No. 318, 212-741-6599
June 15 - July 29, 2006
Reception: Thursday, June 15, 6 - 9 PM
Web Site

Through eyes well-attuned to incongruity and absurdity, the Katzes document a uniquely American subculture of rocket enthusiasts and amateur motorheads as they indulge their fascinations in this magnificent desert landscape. Along with families, friends, and pets, these dreamers are drawn to this parched expanse of barren terrain in search of record speed and uninterrupted sky. In this unlikely playground, familiar race cars and motorcycles share the land with vintage roadsters and unusual hybrid vehicles built for speed.

Meanwhile, curiosities abound. In the distance, traffic cones sprout from the hard, white earth, and rockets race skyward. A pair of matching sofas huddle up to a stand of weather-beaten trees, offering a rare, shaded retreat. Two pink flamingos balance serenely in a reflecting pool created by a recent downpour, while a third lies nearby in the mud, a casualty of the sudden storm. A flock of plastic penguins, looking to the clouds, is lost amidst the salty remains of this ancient sea bed. An outsized Holstein lies in rigid splendor, eyes wide open, ears perked, tethered to a tree by an impractically thin rope.

In an essay from the accompanying book, Salt Dreams, (Powerhouse Books, 2006), noted New York Times critic Vicki Goldberg says the Katzes are “like street photographers in the pathless desert looking for incidents that give the lie to expectation. Their pictures confi rm the outline of an American eccentricity that expresses itself more often in outdoor d├ęcor, like dinosaurs and Michelin men on the roadside and light-up elves on the lawn, than it does in personal habits. The desert in this book is as distinctly American as Forest Lawn or Las Vegas.”
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