picture of the week 3

| | Comments (0)
I've  been meaning to select this picture as the picture of the week for sometime as it shows the lyrical power of  contemporary, abstract  photography in the modernist tradition:

altofotonetledbetter.jpg Janet Leadbetter, yellow squares, red windows

It is a high modernist piece----minimalist in style, strong simple colours,  has a grid,and is mostly surface. It lies firmly within the narrative of modernist American art that includes colour field painting and hard edged abstraction that marked the end of abstract expressionism; a narrative  which Clement Greenberg argued saw colour-field abstraction as the next step towards purifying painting. For Greenberg painting would save art from the kitsch of pop by attaining purity.  

Yet this  is a photograph not a painting.
Does that mean after the collapse of the modernist narrative---abstraction was the meaning of the history of art----photography is liberated. It has many functions and can come in many styles including the making of beautiful objects.

For most of the twentieth century, and especially in the 1920s and the 1960s, when modernist attitudes prevailed, the word contemporary served,  in art discourse as elsewhere, mainly as a default for modern.  Since the decline of modernism in the 1980s and has appeared in institutional naming---of galleries, museums, auction house departments, academic courses,
and textbook titles--which, however, tend to use contemporary as a soft signifier of current plurality.

That leaves us with some questions: what does it mean to be contemporary? What does contemporary as opposed to modernist art/photography look like?

Leave a comment

May 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  

Further Reading


About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Gary Sauer-Thompson published on March 3, 2009 8:31 PM.

beyond modernism was the previous entry in this blog.

modernism/postmodernism is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.


Technorati search

» Blogs that link here

Powered by Movable Type 4.26
Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.