Peter Schjeldhal at The New Yorker:
Working with the MOMA curator Roxana Marcoci, Williams shows scores of photographs, mostly of odd objects (glass flowers, stacks of chocolate bars, cameras that have been cut in half to reveal their anatomy) and of subjects that suggest glossy-magazine advertisements (fashion models, fancy photographic gear) but often have something a bit off about them—such as a model seen from a strange angle. On rare occasions, Williams appropriates images, but, when he does, it’s always with a conceit. For example, he sought out photographs in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library that had been taken on a certain day in May, 1963, and that show the President’s back turned. (There are four, rephotographed and lined up on a wall; they stir feelings of remoteness and sadness.) Williams’s work is too recondite to fit among that of his more succinctly ironic contemporaries, such as the image bandits Richard Prince, Louise Lawler, and Sherrie Levine. Nor is he trendy in technique; none of his pictures were shot digitally. Williams, now fifty-eight (a year younger than Koons) and, since 2008, a professor of photography at the Düsseldorf Art Academy, remains a knight of the darkroom. He also has a sideline in collecting relics of his exhibitions: in the MOMA show there are sections of walls cut out and transported from museums where Williams has previously shown. Not that you’d know this: there are no wall texts or labels to explain or identify any of the pieces in the show, although a handout checklist provides the works’ titles.