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Monet to Matisse: Masterworks of French Impressionism is on view now!
Artist
Judy Linn
Title
Universal Mall, Warren
Date
1972
Medium
gelatin silver print
Dimensions
Image: 13 1/2 × 20 3/8 inches (34.3 × 51.8 cm)
Tags
Photography
Credit Line
Gift of Helen Levitt.
Accession Number
1997.8.4
With a singular visual charm, Detroit-born photographer Judy Linn documents life in its specific and uniquely American time and place. Everything in Linn’s work is steeped in vernacular informative value—the way people dress, individual hairstyles, artifacts of home and domestic life, the way her subjects interact with the lens and each other. Linn moved to New York in the mid-1960s and photographed her friends Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe while they were still young and emerging artists living at the Chelsea Hotel.

The photograph titled Universal Mall, Warren is part of Linn’s series called Edge of Detroit from 1972-73, where she explored suburban life in the first ring of white suburbs around the city. At the time she had moved back to Detroit and was working for a local publication, The Detroit Area Weekly. In Universal Mall, Warren, Linn’s lens takes aim at a group of people within an automobile but vantaged from the outside looking in. The protagonists are driving past an image of the cratered surface of the moon, obviously reproduced in tile on an exterior wall of the mall. Through association, they become as vicarious, drive-through space tourists. Linn’s embrace of the immediacy of the snapshot balances with her artistic sensibilities towards formal compositions.