Em Rooney’s “Ordinary Time” is one of my favorite shows — another small one, in a basement space on Rivington Street. Its title refers to weeks and months between Christian holy days marking events in the life of Jesus. And the show’s 16 images, called “Stations of the Cross,” refer to the final cluster of events called the Passion. The sequence begins with the Last Supper, continues through Jesus’s death, and ends at his tomb. But each scene, embodied in blurry photographs, is set in the present: “Three Marys Meet Jesus” is an all-women civil rights march; “Joseph Takes Jesus Down From the Cross” is an EMS rescue; Jesus’s death, a solar eclipse. The work gives us everyday life as a sacred tale.
Ms. Rooney is currently included in the exhibition “Being: New Photography 2018” at the Museum of Modern Art. Maybe someday “Ordinary Time” will be shown in that museum too. But I guarantee you, it will never again look as unordinary as it does in a Lower East Side gallery this spring.