Screwing in public at night is the apparent focus in Gerald Forster's “Nocturnal” exhibition at Stephen Cohen Gallery — or is it? Taken from 2004 through 2007, the triptych of color photographs — shot with a focus alternately soft and hard — rivals the squint and apoplexy of even the most dedicated voyeur. Are the images rehearsed? Impromptu? Live? Memorex? Ultimately this is a double-bind, because in questioning the circumstances under which the photographs were taken, you're drawn into the seaminess of it all — which is what Förster wanted you to do all along. Each photograph, he asserts, “…exemplifies the exhilaration of liberated sexuality in a lost, isolated world.” To turn a phrase from Contrastate: What is a photographer but a clown collecting moments (and other aphrodisiacs)? And remember: a Peeping Tom is just a Doubting Thomas who wanted to find out more. Stephen Cohen Gallery, 7358 Beverly Blvd.; (323) 937-5525. — David Cotner

Tuesdays-Saturdays. Starts: Sept. 18. Continues through Nov. 7, 2009

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