ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
BOOKS: THE WEEK
AMERICAN ODYSSEY: 1963-1999
JANUARY 21/28, 2000
Rebecca Ascher-Walsh

(Aperture, $50)


219J-485-003
Wonder twins. Two little girls are part of Mark’s American Odyssey.


Mary Ellen Mark is perhaps the most visually ironic photographer to be embraced by the mainstream media, with her black‑and‑white portraits of downtrodden Americans. Mark's slyness lies in her ability to make images of innocence (two girls at their senior prom; children in a wading pool) seem salacious, while at the same time imbuing the sordid with grace (a KKK member and his son embrace in a pietà; a mental patient in a bathtub resembles a Mary Cassatt drawing). Chances are you'll either find Mark's relentless images grating or gorgeous, but they will, no matter what, hold your eye.
B+

END