Performance in Photography Since 1960: An Audience of One

Matthew Barney, Drawing Restraint 9: Shimenawa, 2005

William Pope, Foraging (The Air Itself/Dark Version), 1995

Laurel Nakadate, Lucky Tiger #151, 2009

Ai Weiwei, Study of Perspective: Eiffel Tower, 1995–2003

Performance in Photography Since 1960: An Audience of One

Staging Action: Performance in Photography Since 1960 presents a wide range of images focusing on performance art that were expressly made for the artist’s camera, which was recently on exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Performance art is usually experienced live, but what documents it and ensures its enduring life is, above all, photography. Yet photography plays a constitutive role, not merely a documentary one, when the performance is staged expressly for the camera (often in the absence of an audience), and the images that result are recordings of an event but also autonomous works of art. The pictures in this exhibition exemplify the complex and varied uses artists have devised for photography in the field of performance art since the 1960s.

Many artists have experimented with the camera to test the physical and psychological limits of the body. Other artists have enlisted the camera as an accomplice in experiments with identity, suggesting the plasticity or mutability of identity itself. They have engaged the production of the self as positional rather than fixed and often played with shifting ideas of gender and/or sexual identity. The exhibition also includes both off-the-cuff and staged performative gestures of political dissent, as well as explorations of the dualities of consumerism and dispossession.

Staging Action demonstrates the complex ways in which photography, confronting us with its ability to both freeze and extend a moment in time, pushes against the grain of mere documentation to create performance art as a conceptual exercise that can be appreciated in the absence of a performing body. Often the technology of the camera is able to open up new space for performance, isolating exhibitionist, arresting, spectacular and just plain wacky moments. For every strenuous performance in this collection that challenges physical and psychological limits, there’s also a very playful one.

Viewers can read more about this exhibition in The New York Times here.

Tono Stano’s Performance Photography: Sense

Slide Show: Performance in Photography Since 1960

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Pictures by Women: A Celebration of Great Women Photographers

Ilse Bing, Self-Portrait in Mirrors , 1931

Helen Levitt, Trick-or-Treaters, 1939

Cindy Sherman, Untitled #92, 1981

Nan Goldin, Nan One Month After Being Battered, 1984

Nan Goldin, Nan and Brian in Bed, 1983

Katy Grannan, Nicole in Crissy Field Parking Lot, 2006

Elinor Carucci, My Children, @2003

Pictures by Women: A History of Modern Photography

Pictures by Women: A History of Modern Photography is an exhibition of photographs currently on view at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art. The exhibition presents a selection of outstanding photographs by women artists, charting the medium’s history from the dawn of the modern period to the present time. For much of photography’s 170-year history, women have expanded its roles by experimenting with every aspect of the medium. Including over two hundred works, this exhibition features celebrated masterworks and new acquisitions by such figures as Diane Arbus, Berenice Abbott, Claude Cahun, Imogen Cunningham, Rineke Dijkstra, Florence Henri, Roni Horn, Nan Goldin, Helen Levitt, Lisette Model, Lucia Moholy, Tina Modotti, Cindy Sherman, Kiki Smith, and Carrie Mae Weems, among many others.

Slide Show: Pictures by Women/A History of Modern Photography

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Photo of the Day: A Window Silhouette Dimly Lit From Within

Photo of the Day: A Window Silhouette Dimly Lit From Within

Photography by: Joseph O. Holmes, NYC

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Photo of the Day: MOMA-Drink

Photo of the Day: MOMA-Drink

Photography by: Joseph O. Holmes, NYC

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Photo of the Day: Big Empty Space

Photo of the Day: Big Empty Space

Photography by: Joseph O. Holmes, NYC

Now this is some really high-concept art. Looking at this I’m thinking, WOW what a big empty space!! Looks like it’s probably inside of a museum, maybe an art museum. Right now that’s such a peaceful looking space. It’s good to get away from the everyday commotion of the crowds of people outside on the streets. This scene leaves it to your imagination about the possibilities of what should fill it. Wish I had something really good to hang in there. Well, maybe I’ll just hang this picture up. Yep, think I will.

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