August—and thoughts move to matters corporeal: flesh, sweat, heat. Nan Goldin has turned her lens to human heat over the course of more than twenty-five years. In this issue, she discusses her revelatory new work and the evolution of an intimate vision that is inextricably linked with her own experience.
Gerhard Richter's Atlas has been described as running from Abstraction to Anarchy, by way of a little Agony. In fact, despite its apparently inclusive first aspect, Richter's Weltanschauung is both deliberate and distilled. A classically trained artist who has worked in every painted medium from portraiture to Pop art, he displays here a mere dozen large canvases, but they are hemmed by uncountable individually mounted photographs.
Text and image, image and text. They're usually presented as one of those fundamental but challenging couplings, a commingling that resides somewhere between "love and marriage" and "the Hatfields and the McCoys." It’s central to the history of art, this ageold and often uneasy relationship between verbal and visual languages, the endless to-andfro as to whether images should illustrate text or words should elucidate images, or manage to find some symbiotic common ground.
Mike Kelley’s "Street Credibility," organized for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, operates as a quizzical counterpart to the Diane Arbus retrospective that is now on view at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Kelley’s exhibition proposes a series of footnotes to the epic Arbus show, framing her work within the context of historical predecessors, contemporaries, and artists she inspired.
Fashion is powered by two unrelenting, primal drives: desire and status. Fashion photography’s job is to crystallize both essential motivations to consumers in images that compel them to buy the goods. Very early in modern fashion history, art joined in this commercial game through the work of such photographers as Man Ray, Cecil Beaton, and Irving Penn—desire and status being drives not unknown in the art world.
Although the theme of adolescence is self-evident in Hellen van Meene’s work, her images are far from windows into the individual angsts or pleasures of the girls (and the occasional boy) who pose for her. Van Meene carefully controls each element within the frame to create delicately textured, formal compositions.
Photographer Gary Schneider has long been recognized for his light-infused portraits, and for his use of scientific approaches to explore issues of identity. Here, writer Lynne Tillman discusses with Schneider his unusual working processes and the convergence of science with intuition, as well as the likelihood that human beings may be greater than the sum of their defining elements.
Some years ago, I was assigned to interview a famous fashion designer, a grand old man known for his personal style, his sophistication, and his refusal to suffer fools gladly. As it turned out, I was one of those fools. I made the mistake of asking what he thought about the relationship between fashion and art.
The thing about minefields is how quiet they are. A minefield has none of the noise and chaos you’d expect in a violent place. The other thing about a minefield is that until you find the first mine, you don’t know where the field starts, or even if it exists at all.
The classicists who write photography textbooks dutifully translate photography from the Greek as “light writing.” It was Cervantes who said: “Translation is the back side of a tapestry,” and in the case of photography's many translators, most have been staring at the wall.
nan Goldin's photographs give the sense that she has lived many lives, lost many things, that she has loved and sorrowed greatly. More than just sensibility infuses the work: as often as not, she is photographing the condition of her relationships with her subjects.
When Chinese photographer Li Zhensheng was at film school in Changchun, his teacher, photographer Wu Ying Xian, told him: "Photographers are not only witnesses. They are recorders as well." Li, now sixty-three years old, says: "It made me realize that when we record history, we have to record it completely—not only the positive images but the negative ones as well."
I don’t know why I was so focused on Sarah. Maybe because she always talked to me when some of the others wouldn’t. Maybe it was the way she looked. Sarah had the palest blue eyes, which, no matter what, always looked worried, and dead white skin, meaning it had a grayish hue and no shine.
Carole Naggar GEORGE RODGER: AN ADVENTURE IN PHOTOGRAPHY, 1908-1995
Almost immediately after Rodger arrived in New York, Life offered him a full-time staff position, which he accepted. On August 10 it published the seven-page piece on him, with maps of northern Africa, the Cameroons, and India and as an opener a dashing portrait of Rodger in his uniform (shot in 1940).
My mother’s mother, whom everyone called Dear, wanted to be a Southern aristocrat, and she was as much of one as a Jew could be. She was one of those ladies with her nose in the air; you could tell she thought she was better than other people. Dear never learned to drive, so she did her shopping and paid her afternoon visits in her chauffeur-driven Cadillac.
WALEAD BESHTY is an artist and writer based in Los Angeles. His texts have appeared in Artforum, Afterall, Texte zur Kunst, and in Influence Magazine, where he is also a contributing editor. He teaches at UCLA and CalArts. TIM DAVIS received his MFA in photography from Yale University in 2001.
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