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Take One: Contemporary Photographs

April 25–August 9, 2015

Examine the emergence of photography as a key medium of contemporary art during the last forty years. This is the first in a two-part series of exhibitions to feature photographs made since roughly 1975. Together these presentations offer two views of a period in which photography emerged as a key medium of contemporary art.

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By the last decades of the twentieth century, photography had established traditions of genre and craftsmanship, which an increasing number of artists chose to engage, revise, or reject. Taking inspiration from Conceptual art and other developments of the 1970s, artists including Jan Dibbets, John Divola, and Blythe Bohnen looked to photography as a means of recording or exploring experimental actions rather than making conventionally beautiful still lifes, landscapes, or portraits. Artists also questioned the idea of the photograph as a neutral mirror of reality. Cindy Sherman, David Wojnarowicz, Andreas Gursky, and others focused attention on the role of pictures and picture-making technologies in modern politics and society, taking the visual language of films and magazines as a point of reference and subject of critique. Meanwhile, photographers such as Robert Adams, David Goldblatt, and Judith Joy Ross have continued to explore the medium's established terrain, using the camera to create insightful and provocative pictures of our relationships with one another, everyday spaces, history, and the land. Today, all of these strategies are available to artists using photography, and new approaches continue to emerge. Take One touches on many important trends, featuring images by artists ranging from Lucas Samaras and Robbert Flick to An-My Lê, Moyra Davey, and Elaine Stocki. As photographers extend and revamp the traditions of the medium, where do we stand and where might we go from here?

Main Building


Nathaniel Stein, Horace W. Goldsmith Curatorial Fellow in Photography; and Peter Barberie, The Brodsky Curator of Photographs, Alfred Stieglitz Center

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