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Take Two: Contemporary Photographs

August 22–November 15, 2015

Explore how contemporary artists have responded to changes in culture and technology by refashioning or rejecting photography's conventions.

This is the second of two exhibitions in the Julien Levy Gallery to feature photographs made since roughly 1970, a period during which photography emerged as a key medium of contemporary art.

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By the 1960s, photography had established pictorial traditions and standards of craftsmanship. But cultural changes, new technologies, and the rise of Conceptual art compelled many artists to revise or reject these conventions. Gerhard Richter, for example, manipulated seemingly ordinary snapshots to expose the fictional nature of even the most convincing photographic scenes. Robert Rauschenberg injected a Pop sensibility in works that reflect our increasingly mediated and image-saturated world. Cindy Sherman, Zhang Huan, and others have since explored these issues from many intriguing angles.

For all of its mediated fictions, photography is also intensely immediate and sensual, bringing us into electrifying contact with bodies, emotions, and social realities. Artists such as William E. Parker and Paul Cava explore the medium's expressive, even erotic potential, sometimes combining photography with paint and ink. Others, including Dawoud Bey and David Goldblatt, use the camera to document and reveal alternative histories of overlooked or marginalized subjects. And artists such as An-My Lê harness a deep awareness of history and popular culture to confront the complexities of contemporary life.

Perelman Building


Peter Barberie, The Brodsky Curator of Photographs, Alfred Stieglitz Center

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