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Posts Tagged ‘Review’

No Hanging Out

There’s a review by Holland Cotter in today’s New York Times about a new show at the International Center of Photography called “Archive Fever: Uses of the Document in Contemporary Art.”

Holland’s fascinating and glowing review has prompted me to see the show which runs from January 18 – May 4, 2008.  (I’m fortunate to live in such a beautiful, rural area with a 90-minute trip into Manhattan.) 

Holland writes: “Photography, with its extensions in film, video and the digital realm, is the main vehicle for these images. The time was, we thought of photographs as recorders of reality. Now we know they largely invent reality. At one stage or another, whether in shooting, developing, editing or placement, the pictures are manipulated, which means that we are manipulated. We are so used to this that we don’t see it; it’s just a fact of life.”

Of particular interest to me is this exhibit in the show:

“The thousands of images in a looping 36-hour slide projection by Jef Geys would seem to be linked by a firmer thread. They are a visual archive of Mr. Geys’s photographic output of 40 years. Whether they provide evidence of aesthetic development, though, or insight into the artist’s maturing mind and soul, will be known only to the most devoted of viewers.”

(Let’s see… the longest the museum is open on any single day is ten hours, and the longest anyone could realistically sit through a slide show might be three hours. So it’ll take at least 12 well-coordinated visits to see the whole thing!  With $12 admission, that’s $144, but an individual membership at $75 allows unlimited free visits.  Yay!)

Another exhibit in the show by Hans-Peter Feldmann sounds like a thoroughly intriguing study:  a room full of framed front pages of 100 international newspapers printed on Sept. 12, 2001.  To Feldman’s credit as an artist, and to Holland’s credit as a reviewer, both get past the fact that this event is still fresh to us and are able to raise all sorts of questions about image placement, text placement and the manipulation of content from country to country. 

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Two Steering Wheels

Frank Deford is an author, a senior writer at Sports Illustrated and a commentator on NPR.   Even though I don’t care about pro or college sports, I regularly listen to his sports-centered pieces on NPR’s Morning Edtion. Deford’s distinguished tones are invigorating and he gives an ethereal message about humanity even when he’s talking about doped-up football players.  He’s an admirable thinker and writer.

In 2005, Deford participated in a documentary film about higher education called Declining by Degrees. One of his quotes is worth repeating:

“How can anyone rationally argue that a baseball player should get a college scholarship, but a piano player shouldn’t? What does it say about a college’s regard for art, literature, drama and music if the finest young painters, writers, actors and musicians are not eligible for the same rewards as are athletes?”

What does that say about our colleges and universities?

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Tractor Cat

I find it inspirational to study paintings and films.   I’m informed by the use of style, symbolism, craft, skill, history and light.  Ironically, I’m not often inspired by still photography.  It’s sometimes challenging to find enlightening work outside of the masters of photography, old and new. 

But as I found out this morning, a trip through The New York Times Photo Store is a real feast. You can see (and purchase!) an amazing array of images going back to the 1800s. Of particular interest is the “American Experience” category with riveting photos of American life over the last 150 years. If you’re looking for inspirational still photography, you’ve hit the jackpot.

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