Cahan focuses on high-profile and wildly contested exhibitions that attempted to integrate African American culture and art into museums, each of which ignited debate, dissension, and protest. The Metropolitan Museum's 1969 exhibition Harlem on My Mind was supposed to represent the neighborhood, but it failed to include the work of the black artists living and working there. While the Whitney's 1971 exhibition Contemporary Black Artists in America featured black artists, it was heavily criticized for being haphazard and not representative. The Whitney show revealed the consequences of museums' failure to hire African American curators, or even white curators who possessed knowledge of black art. Cahan also recounts the long history of the Museum of Modern Art's institutional ambivalence toward contemporary artists of color, which reached its zenith in its 1984 exhibition "Primitivism" in Twentieth Century Art. Representing modern art as a white European and American creation that was influenced by the "primitive" art of people of color, the show only served to further devalue and cordon off African American art.
In addressing the racial politics of New York's art world, Cahan shows how aesthetic ideas reflected the underlying structural racism and inequalities that African American artists faced. These inequalities are still felt in America's museums, as many fundamental racial hierarchies remain intact: art by people of color is still often shown in marginal spaces; one-person exhibitions are the preferred method of showing the work of minority artists, as they provide curators a way to avoid engaging with the problems of complicated, interlocking histories; and whiteness is still often viewed as the norm. The ongoing process of integrating museums, Cahan demonstrates, is far broader than overcoming past exclusions.
1971: A Year in the Life of Color looks at many black artists’ desire to gain freedom from overt racial representation, as well as their efforts—and those of their advocates—to further that aim through public exhibition. Amid calls to define a “black aesthetic,” these experiments with modernist art prioritized cultural interaction and instability. Contemporary Black Artists in America highlighted abstraction as a stance against normative approaches, while The DeLuxe Show positioned abstraction in a center of urban blight. The importance of these experiments, English argues, came partly from color’s special status as a cultural symbol and partly from investigations of color already under way in late modern art and criticism. With their supporters, black modernists—among them Peter Bradley, Frederick Eversley, Alvin Loving, Raymond Saunders, and Alma Thomas—rose above the demand to represent or be represented, compromising nothing in their appeals for interracial collaboration and, above all, responding with optimism rather than cynicism to the surrounding culture’s preoccupation with color.
For the first time, this volume defines what counts as a news picture, how pictures are selected and distributed, where they are seen and how we critique and value them. Presenting the best new thinking on this fascinating topic, this book considers the news picture over time, from the dawn of the illustrated press in the nineteenth century, through photojournalism's heyday and the rise of broadcast news and newsreels in the twentieth century and into today's digital platforms. It examines the many kinds of images: sport, fashion, society, celebrity, war, catastrophe and exoticism; and many mediums, including photography, painting, wood engraving, film and video. Packed with the best research and full colour-illustrations throughout, this book will appeal to students and readers interested in how news and history are key sources of our rich visual culture.
Polaroid was often dismissed as a toy, but Buse takes it seriously, showing how it encouraged photographic play as well as new forms of artistic practice. Drawing on unprecedented access to the archives of the Polaroid Corporation, Buse reveals Polaroid as photography at its most intimate, where the photographer, photograph, and subject sit in close proximity in both time and space—making Polaroid not only the perfect party camera but also the tool for frankly salacious pictures taking.
Along the way, Buse tells the story of the Polaroid Corporation and its ultimately doomed hard-copy wager against the rising tide of digital imaging technology. He explores the continuities and the differences between Polaroid and digital, reflecting on what Polaroid can tell us about how we snap photos today. Richly illustrated, The Camera Does the Rest will delight historians, art critics, analog fanatics, photographers, and all those who miss the thrill of waiting to see what develops.
Evocative and powerful, Italian social documentary photography from the 1930s to the 1960s is a rich source of cultural history, reflecting a time of dramatic change. This book shows, through a wide range of images (some published for the first time) that to fully understand the photography of this period we must take a more expansive view than scholars have applied to date, considering issues of propaganda, aesthetics, religion, national identity and international influences.
By setting Italian photography against a backdrop of social documentary and giving it a distinctive place in the global history of photography, this exciting volume of original research is of interest to art historians and scholars of Italian and visual culture studies.
Thematic chapters explore the increasing prevalence of collaborative approaches to photography among a broad range of international artists – from conceptual practices in the 1960s to the most recent digital manifestations. Positioning contemporary work in a broader historical and theoretical context, the book reveals that collaboration is an overlooked but essential dimension of the medium's development and potential.
This interdisciplinary, multi-authored volume examines the central but almost unspoken position of before-and-after photography found in a wide range of contexts from the 19th century through to the present. Packed with case studies that explore the conceptual implications of these images, the book's rich language of evidence, documentation and persuasion present both historical material and the work of practicing photographers who have deployed – and challenged – the conventions of the before-and-after pairing.
Touching on issues including sexuality, race, environmental change and criminality, Before-and-After Photography examines major topics of current debate in the critique of photography in an accessible way to allow students and scholars to explore the rich conceptual issues around photography's relationship with time and imagination.
This refreshing and erudite book offers a new understanding of the transformation of photography and the visual arts around 1968. Author Joshua Shannon reveals an oddly stringent realism in the period, tracing artists’ rejection of essential truths in favor of surface appearances. Dubbing this tendency factualism, Shannon illuminates not only the Cold War’s preoccupation with data but also the rise of a pervasive culture of fact.
Focusing on the United States and West Germany, where photodocumentary traditions intersected with 1960s politics, Shannon investigates a broad variety of art, ranging from conceptual photography and earthworks to photorealist painting and abstraction. He looks closely at art by Bernd and Hilla Becher, Robert Bechtle, Vija Celmins, Douglas Huebler, Gerhard Richter, and others. These artists explored fact’s role as a modern paradigm for talking, thinking, and knowing. Their art, Shannon concludes, helps to explain both the ambivalent anti-humanism of today’s avant-garde art and our own culture of fact.
Collaborations between writers and photographers have provided African Americans with important focus for issues of identity and representation -- or lack thereof -- ever since the first publication of The Sweet Flypaper of Life by Langston Hughes and Roy DeCarava in 1955. Frank Stewart, with his fellow photographers in Kamoinge Inc., and Ntozake Shange -- a longtime fan of photography -- were inspired by this landmark work and committed themselves to continuing the tradition and the artistic conversation into this first decade of this new millennium.
In 1963, Roy DeCarava -- renowned photographer and first president of the Kamoinge Workshop -- set the aesthetic and philosophical tone of the group in response to biased representations of African Americans in the media. As image-makers, the Kamoinge members have sought to shed positive light on their subjects, and to demystify Black life in America. With stunning images from such acclaimed photographers as Anthony Barboza, Adger W. Cowans, Ming Smith Murray, andpoems by Ntozake Shange, one of the most accomplished writers of her time, The Sweet Breath of Life is a rich and thought-provoking book, destined to become a classic work of American photography and literature.
Illustrated with more than one hundred images, including many in color, An Eye for the Tropics is a nuanced evaluation of the aesthetics of the “tropicalizing images” and their effects on Jamaica and the Bahamas. Thompson describes how representations created to project an image to the outside world altered everyday life on the islands. Hoteliers imported tropical plants to make the islands look more like the images. Many prominent tourist-oriented spaces, including hotels and famous beaches, became off-limits to the islands’ black populations, who were encouraged to act like the disciplined, loyal colonial subjects depicted in the pictures.
Analyzing the work of specific photographers and artists who created tropical representations of Jamaica and the Bahamas between the 1880s and the 1930s, Thompson shows how their images differ from the English picturesque landscape tradition. Turning to the present, she examines how tropicalizing images are deconstructed in works by contemporary artists—including Christopher Cozier, David Bailey, and Irénée Shaw—at the same time that they remain a staple of postcolonial governments’ vigorous efforts to attract tourists.