APERTURE'S second "ON LOCATION" features the work of six disparate artists whose common bond lies in their maverick approach to art. This issue is devoted to the working processes of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Graciela Iturbide, Barbara Kruger, Sally Mann, Andres Serrano, and Clarissa Sligh.
Clarissa Sligh's work is layered with messages. Using family photographs and archival references, she incorporates family stories and social politics into her art, inviting her audience to gaze into experiences—both collective and individual—of African-Americans in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Like anybody interested in photography, I knew Henri Cartier-Bresson's work by heart. Not all of it. I wasn't an expert, but certain unforgettable images and his unique approach. I would have recognized them immediately anywhere. His way of surprising life, his street-walking all over the world, his eye for the people who cross streets.
The First Letter July 1, 1994, Lexington Dear Melissa, I sense that there's something strange happening in the family pictures. The kids seem to be disappearing from the image, receding into the landscape. I used to conceive of the picture first and then look for a good place to take it, but now I seem to find the backgrounds and place a child in them, hoping for something interesting to happen.
The colonial town square of Coyoacán faces the sprawling house of the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés, an omnipresent reminder that this quiet suburb of Mexico City, the home of photographer Graciela Iturbide, was once a blood-soaked battlefield. I meet Iturbide in a small, outdoor restaurant on the square; then— fortified with good Mexican coffee—we get up together to stroll Coyoacán.
Jozsef Dragina looks understandably nervous as photographer Andres Serrano arranges lights before taking his portrait. Dressed in an antique waistcoat, Dragina is perched on a wobbly stool six floors up on the roof of the Art Nouveau Parisi Udvar shopping center in downtown Budapest.
When Barbara Kruger first showed her large text-and-image works in the early 1980s, no one could have predicted the enormous influence she would have, not only in the arts but in venues as diverse as Newsweek magazine and MTV. A committed feminist, she takes as her subjects the skewed social relations created by the inequalities of gender, class, and race.
Cleverly juxtaposing images and texts from disparate cultures, Elaine Reichek's work often explores and comments on the relationship between indigenous peoples and the "civilizations" that attempt to assimilate (read: Westernize) them.
DICTATORSHIP OF VIRTUE: MULTICULTURALISM AND THE BATTLE FOR AMERICA’S FUTURE, RICHARD BERNSTEIN
Dictatorship of Virtue implacably—and some will say terrifyingly—chronicles the legacy of a revolution gone awry. What began as moral commitment to destroy segregation and place institutionalized racism beyond the pale has ended, according to Richard Bernstein, in the tyranny of conformity that is today's "multiculturalism."
CAMILLE SILVY: RIVER SCENE, FRANCE, MARK HAWORTH-BOOTH
Poets are famous for seeing the world in a grain of sand; one might almost say it is an occupational point of view. Even after Blake spelled out the strategy for all to see, poets continued to use it. Tennyson, addressing the flower that he had plucked from the crannied wall, claimed that if he could understand it he would also understand God, and even man.
The prevailing Western view that nineteenth-century Japanese photography was produced largely for Western consumption has been challenged by Charles Schwartz, an American photography dealer and collector who has recently amassed a large collection of Japanese ambrotype portraits.
JOHN BERGER, born in London, is well-known as a novelist, essayist, art critic, and screenwriter. On photography, he has written Another Way of Telling with Swiss photographer Jean Mohr, and his essays on art and photography appear in About Looking, Keeping a Rendezvous, and Ways of Seeing.
Note: Unless otherwise noted, all photographs are courtesy of, and copyright by, the artists. Front cover: Installation by Barbara Kruger, photograph by Zindman/Fremont, courtesy of Mary Boone Gallery, New York City; p. 3 photograph by Andres Serrano, courtesy of Paula Cooper Gallery, New York City; p. 5 Clarissa Sligh, 30 " x 40 " cyanotype print from the installation Sandy Ground;