The Museum of Modern Art recently opened an exhibition of newly acquired photography works that date back to the 1960s, showing the medium's contribution to the cultural dialogue of the past 50 years. Each piece reveals something about how photography processes developed, based on various experimentation techniques.
Stephen Shore’s work, taken during a road trip, portrays what looks like a 1950s America at a first glance. Its true time period, however––the 1970s––is quickly given away by scruffy teenage subjects in Levi's 501s and mustard yellow Chevy Impalas. The result is a picture the country's shaky, adolescent transition between the two time periods, as if the advent of color photography revealed more blemishes than their black-and-white process predecessors. Across the room is a stark juxtaposition: Paul Graham’s work, whose portrayal of Northeast England under a lamp of gritty, rainy weather stands in contrast to the sunny open roads of Shore's America.
Some of the featured artists play less with places and people, and more with abstractions of identity and gender. Both VALIE EXPORT and Lynn Hershman Leeson documented their new identities as a way of analyzing gender roles. Later on, they would greatly influence the artistic feminist and political movement of the 1970s. Other artists include Yto Barrada, Liz Deschenes, Robert Frank, Birgit Jürgenssen, Jürgen Klauke, Běla Kolářová, Dóra Maurer, Oscar Muñoz, Mariah Robertson, Allan Sekula, and Hank Willis Thomas, their topics ranging from port cities, to corporate logos, to camera-less photography. Stay tuned for additional work from Phil Collins, Stan Douglas, Leslie Hewitt, and Taryn Simon, on display starting August 23rd, 2013.
MUSEUM of MODERN ART
11 W 53rd St.
New York, NY 10019 MAP