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Author Topic: The "painting of our times"?  (Read 19730 times)

David Hufford

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The "painting of our times"?
« on: February 25, 2007, 06:33:08 AM »

Sorry deleted
« Last Edit: February 25, 2007, 10:08:40 AM by drichi »
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russell a

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The "painting of our times"?
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2007, 09:35:21 AM »

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I think this is the appropriate spot to post this.  Very relevant to this topic.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/25/magazine...xprod=permalink
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=102933\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Relevant?  In what way?
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David Hufford

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The "painting of our times"?
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2007, 10:07:26 AM »

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Relevant?  In what way?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=102963\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Perhaps I am wrong, but since this forum entitled is "But is it Art--A free form forum for opinions on photography as an art form," it seems to me that the article addressing an aspect of this---modern photography as an art form that someone might be interested. Could even generate some opinions. I apologize for misunderstanding the purpose of this forum.

I have removed it, but you may want to remove it from your reply.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2007, 10:19:01 AM by drichi »
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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The "painting of our times"?
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2007, 10:49:18 AM »

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Sorry deleted
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Wall's exhibit at MOMA is now open and runs through May 14.

Like (probably) many LL forum members, I am somewhat skeptical, but I do plan to see the exhibit. One quote from the article that seems relevant to the current thread:

Quote
As soon as it was clear that a piece of paper that said it was an artwork was art, then anything was an artwork,” Wall says.

In any case, Wall's approach and the article are certainly relevant to this forum topic.
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thompsonkirk

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The "painting of our times"?
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2007, 08:02:44 PM »

It looked to me like that wasn't a quote about Wall's own work - he's also a savvy art historian, & I think it was meant as a general statement about conceptual art.  

I'd urge folks to read the article because of his main idea that conventional photography has backed itself into a corner or box.  We - that is, landscape photographers, Michael, people who go on photo safaris, probably all of us reading this site, & certainly myself - are among the folks he thinks are cornered.  Though he's probably thinking more about the major gallery & museum scene.  

It's good to have someone rattle our cages - a bit roughly - once in a while!  You don't have to love his work to hear his interesting criticisms.
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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The "painting of our times"?
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2007, 08:16:55 PM »

Quote
It looked to me like that wasn't a quote about Wall's own work - he's also a savvy art historian, & I think it was meant as a general statement about conceptual art. 

I'd urge folks to read the article because of his main idea that conventional photography has backed itself into a corner or box.  We - that is, landscape photographers, Michael, people who go on photo safaris, probably all of us reading this site, & certainly myself - are among the folks he thinks are cornered.  Though he's probably thinking more about the major gallery & museum scene. 

It's good to have someone rattle our cages - a bit roughly - once in a while!  You don't have to love his work to hear his interesting criticisms.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=103128\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I agree totally, especially about having our cages rattled. I'll go to his show and hope to find it worth seeing, but I'm not about to start printing transparencies for 16-foot light boxes any time soon.
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russell a

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The "painting of our times"?
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2007, 08:54:41 PM »

Quote
Perhaps I am wrong, but since this forum entitled is "But is it Art--A free form forum for opinions on photography as an art form," it seems to me that the article addressing an aspect of this---modern photography as an art form that someone might be interested. Could even generate some opinions. I apologize for misunderstanding the purpose of this forum.

I have removed it, but you may want to remove it from your reply.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=102974\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

drichi:  Sorry that you misunderstood.  My curt comment was not a challenge to the appropriateness of your post, but a solicitation as to why you felt that Wall's work was particularly illuminating to the topic of today's Art.  My initial take is that he employs the same elaborate preparation that many fashion/advertisment photographers are able to indulge without the results matching and certainly not improving on the classic "grab shots" of traditional street photographers.
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larsrc

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The "painting of our times"?
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2007, 10:58:35 AM »

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drichi:  Sorry that you misunderstood.  My curt comment was not a challenge to the appropriateness of your post, but a solicitation as to why you felt that Wall's work was particularly illuminating to the topic of today's Art.  My initial take is that he employs the same elaborate preparation that many fashion/advertisment photographers are able to indulge without the results matching and certainly not improving on the classic "grab shots" of traditional street photographers.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=103139\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Well, given that his works are now at MoMA, there must be *something* that's considered relevant.  I don't see why a photographer should not be allowed to do elaborate preparation (I think "indulge in" is a rather loaded word for projects that take several months).  The fallacy when it comes to art photography is that because it's photography, it must be "unmanipulated" -- Briot has explained why unmanipulated is impossible, Wall takes that further by constructing the scene he wants to depict rather than waiting around for it to happen by chance.  He's more of a story-teller than a documentarist, which I think is sorely needed in modern art.  "Classical" art had lots of stories to tell, and nobody berated painters for arranging or manipulating their subjects.  I feel that a lot of pictorial art in the twentieth century has lost the story-telling part -- paintings by going for the abstract and meaningless, photos by sticking to the "documentary" place.  If Wall has interesting stories to tell (not having seen his pictures full-size, I can't say how much he does), then I see no problem that they are done with a camera rather than, say, a paintbrush or a 3D renderer.

-Lars

russell a

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The "painting of our times"?
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2007, 05:10:24 PM »

Quote
Well, given that his works are now at MoMA, there must be *something* that's considered relevant.


If Wall has interesting stories to tell (not having seen his pictures full-size, I can't say how much he does)

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=124364\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

All that a work being in MOMA means for sure is that somebody thinks they can make some money from it.  

Wall admits that he adopted his approach after being a "failed" cinematographer.  I do not find his constructed "stories" particularly engaging, since most of them ("Mimic" for example) have such a shallow narrative that if they were my "grab" shots, I wouldn't count them as successes.  I think his success in becoming known was mostly due to his making large scale lightbox transparencies at a time when they provided 1) sufficient novelty, 2) a simple sales pitch, 3) sufficient justification for the price that galleries need to sustain their business model.
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John Clifford

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The "painting of our times"?
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2008, 03:35:54 AM »

The one thing interesting to me is that Wall is bringing a painter's approach to photography; he carefully stages his photographs as a painter would stage his picture, making up elements to fit his own artistic sensibilities. That differs from most photographers who, while they may arrange minor aspects of the subject, photograph what is in front of their camera as they found it. Wall truly does utilize the camera to paint his canvas, and he decides exactly what will be on that canvas and where.

Contrast that approach to what most photographers do. Sure, we may alter the light, and we use focal length, aperture, and our location to vary aspects of the final image, but the essence of photography is that we capture what is there.

In short, most photography is about recognizing the inherent beauty/artistic value in a scene and capturing it effectively (so that the viewer connects with our vision). Wall's photography is about creating artistic value from whole cloth, and he uses the camera to capture his creation as an alternative to another method such as painting. The difference in approach is, IMO, occasionally effective for Wall but all too often comes across as contrived and artificial... because he doesn't know when to stop adding content. To me, his less successful images lack subtlety.

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Eric Myrvaagnes

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The "painting of our times"?
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2008, 10:11:52 AM »

I did see his exhibit at MOMA. From all I had read about his work, I was extremely skeptical.

Much to my surprise, I found several of them quite engaging and very well executed. For some of them, the more time I spent looking, the more I found to keep my attention. So I now think that what he is doing is worth while in its own way.
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bill t.

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The "painting of our times"?
« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2008, 06:52:55 PM »

Interesting, some of it.

IMHO Gregory Crewdson does it better.  Worth a trip to the bookstore to see the "Beneath the Roses" book.

http://www.whitecube.com/exhibitions/beneaththeroses/
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jing q

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The "painting of our times"?
« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2008, 04:56:38 AM »

Quote from: John Clifford
The one thing interesting to me is that Wall is bringing a painter's approach to photography; he carefully stages his photographs as a painter would stage his picture, making up elements to fit his own artistic sensibilities. That differs from most photographers who, while they may arrange minor aspects of the subject, photograph what is in front of their camera as they found it. Wall truly does utilize the camera to paint his canvas, and he decides exactly what will be on that canvas and where.

Contrast that approach to what most photographers do. Sure, we may alter the light, and we use focal length, aperture, and our location to vary aspects of the final image, but the essence of photography is that we capture what is there.

In short, most photography is about recognizing the inherent beauty/artistic value in a scene and capturing it effectively (so that the viewer connects with our vision). Wall's photography is about creating artistic value from whole cloth, and he uses the camera to capture his creation as an alternative to another method such as painting. The difference in approach is, IMO, occasionally effective for Wall but all too often comes across as contrived and artificial... because he doesn't know when to stop adding content. To me, his less successful images lack subtlety.

Painting is not the only medium that does that. Why don't they compare it to animation or drawing or dancing (to stretch the analogy..)
Jeff Wall's a very good writer (some of what he's written has made me think), however the whole comparison to painting is just another way to justify the value of the work (painting having some sort of "higher value", not that I really believe that)
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John Camp

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The "painting of our times"?
« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2008, 08:21:31 PM »

Quote from: bill t.
Interesting, some of it.
IMHO Gregory Crewdson does it better.  Worth a trip to the bookstore to see the "Beneath the Roses" book.
http://www.whitecube.com/exhibitions/beneaththeroses/


I wonder why you think Crewdson is better? I have just the opposite reaction. Crewdson seems to always be one thing, or sort of a related thing, that involves failing light and people in obvious poses, and after a while, I tend to think, "Another Crewdson."

Wall doesn't seem to repeat himself; there's a "Wall quality" to his work, but each one feels different, and I have no trouble looking at a bunch of Wall images in a book. I do with Crewdson.

JC
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