Photographs of South Africa From David Goldblatt’s Massive, Rich Museum Show

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“I regard myself as an unlicensed, self-appointed observer and critic of South African society,” says South Africa–born artist David Goldblatt, who has been photographing the imagery and iconography of apartheid and postapartheid since the sixties. Two floors of the New Museum were just hung with 114 of Goldblatt’s rich, impeccable works, some of them graceful portraits of dilapidated or kitsch scenes — decrepit huts or racially divided beauty contests — others spare, ominous snapshots of makeshift roadside advertisements and abandoned asbestos-ridden mines. The exhibition — 38 pieces of which we’ve included in this slideshow — is part documentary, part high drama.