Andy Grundberg is an American art critic, based in New York who over a period of the 1980’s and 1990′ has written a number of important essays of artists and their exhibitions which he has written for The New York Times, etc. His critical analysis of artist such as Walker Evans, Georgia O’Keefe, Joel Sternfield, Nan Goldin, Cindy Sherman, Richard Prince, Robert Mapplethorpe, Lewis Hine, Robert Heinecken, gives a very good insight into a great many of 2oth century artists both modernist and postmodernist with a helpful explanation as to the difference. I found this book as recommended reading on Amazon and I dare say I expect to find it listed among future recommended or required readings in my OCA journey. A good book to read.
Photo by Nigel Shafran, Titled, 4th January 2004. Three bean soup, cauliflower vegetable cheese. Morning coffee and croissants. From the series Washing-up. Available to view online: http://nigelshafran.com
Nigel Shafran is a photographer who has come from the fashion-world and moved across to Art Photography and has successfully exhibited his work at the Tate. His style is of the typical banal imagery popular with postmodernist thinking. My personal take on this style is, nice, but for me, a little goes along way.
The project, The Day-to-Day Life of Alfred Hastings by Kaylynn Deveney is a good example of Postmodernist art. Deveney has taken the idea of making the ordinary, banal moments in her neighbour’s life as the subject of her project. Deveney is looking at her neighbours habits and routines in a fresh respective and by asking Mr Hastings to add his own captions to her photographs of him and his home new meanings are added to the pictures that give it a more intimate / personal, insider, style than if she had simply added her own. This I think was a cleaver way to add more layers to this work. This project is similar to ‘Objects in the Field’ in so much as the author (Deveney) writes about her experience working with Hastings and her personal observations. However, in this instance I believe the artist was more successful in building a good relationship with her subject and was able to share a mutual vision. The reason for this I believe was that they had more in common with each other and the photographer did not have to make as much of an effort to find common ground. Mr Hastings wrote poetry and his love of flora and fauna suggests a man more open to artistic and visual ideas and arts that proved both useful and helpful as Mr. Hastings helped Deveney develop her ideas with his helpful comments and clearly a good partnership developed that appears to have been missing from Rickett’s relationship.
Rickett, interviewed D. Willstrop and with his permission printed some black and white negatives of photographs made by his three mirrored telescope that he built at the University. Rickett, using digital technology for wider tonal print and aesthetic qualities she exhibited these photos with some of her own with examples of scientific instruments and linking a video and text. Rickett’s text consists of a narrative of her experiences working with Dr. Willstrop and juxtaposing this with childhood anecdotal experiences that complemented her story.
This postmodernist documentary approach is based upon a professional relationship that Rickett developed with Dr. Willstrop in order to understand his work and create and artistic project from it. Using the insider technique of meeting and getting to know Dr. Willstrop, Rickett hoped to find ways of aligning her artistic practices with Dr. Willsrops scientific practices, hoping that she could find away through their commonly shared interests. She however feels that she failed to achieve this and although she was able to put together a good exhibition she still doesn’t know if Dr. Willstrop liked it or not. The exhibition appears to have been fairly successful and interesting; but reading between the lines, I wonder if the three mirrored telescope project was a painful memories for Dr. Willstrop that Rickett was racking up.