7/16/2009 - The New York Times review of "Bed" show including Dorothy O'Connor and Kim Riegel

There we sleep, dream, play and mate. There we spend a significant portion of life and often that’s where we are when it ends.

“Bed,” on display through Saturday at Umbrella Arts in the East Village, features 45 pictures by photographers who answered the gallery’s call to submit works uncovering the theme.

There are photographs of coffee-stained linens, pillow talk, pornography and an abandoned prison cell housing the rusty frame of a bunk bed. One photograph (”Naipes,” by Katie DelaVaughn) captures a boy shuffling a deck of cards while a set of hands points a revolver in the foreground. Another image (“Green,” by Dorothy O’Connor) is reminiscent of a Henri Rousseau painting, with a young dreamer on a bed of grass surrounded by growing vines.

“We do everything in bed,” said Harvey Stein, a photographer, a teacher at the International Center of Photography and the curator of the show. “I wanted to bring the bed from under the radar to our attention in a fun way, in a provocative way.”

Mr. Stein said he was inspired to produce the show after being captivated by one of his student’s photographs of an empty, unmade bed next to a window. “It’s around us and we ignore it and other people have made it the subject of their work,” he said, citing well-known pictures by Elliott Erwitt, Nan Goldin, Cindy Sherman, Diane Arbus, and William Eggleston that included beds. Asked about his selection criteria, he said, “I didn’t want people just lying in bed.”

Mr. Stein plans to publish a book on the topic. Because of the number of submissions, a sequel is also being planned for next year.

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