Posts Tagged ‘Met’

Preview: Faking It – Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop, Metropolitan Museum , NYC

In Art Museum, Black and White Photography, Exhibits on October 15, 2012 at 11:59 am


Grete Stern’s “Dream No. 1: Electrical Appliances for the Home”

An exhibit we have been looking forward to for a couple of years is now opening at the Met. “Faking it” takes on the whole question and validation of manipulated photographs. Is it “real” photography when it is no longer “straight photography” or is it just artistic expression, license , creative artifact … or whatever. The rather pointless philosophical discussion leaves behind an array of important images that can be appreciated for “the thing itself” :

To make sense of it all, you need to understand that Ms. Fineman’s mission is to challenge something that is absent from the show: a different view of photography that prevailed among the intelligentsia for most of the 20th century. That was the idea that a great photograph must be transparently truthful. Canonized eminences of modern photography, from Stieglitz and Weston to Arbus and Winogrand, took the world straight, with no cosmetic or fantastic chaser. What they and their cameras saw was putatively what you got.

But the truthfulness of straight photography came under suspicion in the 1970s, most resoundingly in Susan Sontag’s “On Photography,” which indicted the medium for voyeurism and other crimes. Since then, doubting the capability of any representational system to convey naked truth has become obligatory in academic circles. The advent of digitization and Photoshop-type software has only affirmed the now orthodox conviction that not only does reality elude representation but also that truth itself may be just a misleading chimera.

We are left, then, to wonder. If photography cannot capture truth, what is it good for? Leaving aside the ever-increasing use of imaging technology for identification, surveillance, scientific and medical discovery and so on, what is its special purpose as far as art is concerned? While a good answer to that question does not emerge from this exhibition, it offers much that any new theories must take into account.

Runs through Jan. 27

For more information: The Met

For above referenced NYT Review: New York Times

Preview: Night Vision – Photography After Dark,The Met, NYC

In Art Museum, Black and White Photography, Exhibits, Photographer on July 15, 2011 at 12:10 pm


Robert Frank, ”London”

Black and White is a medium that absolutely suits low light imagery. A show with “after dark” as the theme is now on display at the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

This installation surveys the ways in which modern photographers have used the camera to explore the visual and symbolic potential of the nocturnal image. Among the featured works are moody Pictorialist nocturnes by Edward Steichen and Alvin Langdon Coburn; shadowy street scenes by Brassaï, Bill Brandt, and Robert Frank; electric light abstractions by Italian Futurist Giuseppe Albergamo; and aerial views of suburban Los Angeles at night by contemporary artist David Deutsch. Drawn entirely from the Metropolitan’s collection, the installation includes approximately forty photographs, ranging from the late 1890s to the present.

Now through September 18, 2011

For more on the exhibit: Met

For another recent exhibit that explores the evening hours: Night

Preview: Three Masters of Photography at the Met “Stieglitz, Steichen, Strand”, New York

In Art Museum, Black and White Photography, Exhibits, Photographer on December 19, 2010 at 11:13 am


Edward Steichen by Paul Strand

“Stieglitz, Steichen, Strand” is our destination this week in NYC. An early Christmas present indeed. For a preview guide please read the article by Ariella Budick in today’s Financial Times then take the time to look at the the online catalog of the Met exhibit.

According to the standard narrative, Alfred Stieglitz came to the medium in the late 19th century, determined to pry it from the clutches of Sunday amateurs and enthrone it next to painting and sculpture as one of the fine arts. He and his fellow pictorialists imitated the gauzy, atmospheric paintings of Whistler, the compositions of Japanese woodblock prints and the steamy cityscapes of the impressionists. But by the time of the legendary Armory Show in New York in 1913, Stieglitz had rejected the symbolist style in favour of a modernist orthodoxy,
insisting on sharp focus with no visible retouching, and commanding a kind of latent abstraction from his followers. With the fanaticism of a new convert, he condemned the manipulated print for its fraudulence and artificiality.
Formalism now ruled, and Stieglitz even reinterpreted his old pictures to conform to his new ideas. “You may call this a crowd of immigrants,” he famously said of “The Steerage”, taken in 1907 but not exhibited until 1913. “To me it is a study in mathematical lines, in balance, in a pattern of light and shade.”

The exhibit runs now through April 10, 2011.

The FT article: Financial Times

The Met CatalogMet Online

The Met exhibit information: Stieglitz, Steichen, Strand