If You Happen To Be In New York City

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Raxa Collective has favored photography that captures natural and/or cultural heritage at its best in documentary mode.  But we are interested in the boundaries of this medium, not least because several contributors cross those boundaries in their other work.  If you are interested in these issues, and happen to be in New York City any time in the next few months this show looks worth a visit:

Organized by ICP Curator Carol Squiers, What Is a Photograph? will explore the intense creative experimentation in photography that has occurred since the 1970s. Conceptual art introduced photography into contemporary art making, using the medium in ways that challenged it artistically, intellectually, and technically and broadened the notion of what a photograph could be in art. A new generation of artists began an equally rigorous but more aesthetically adventurous analysis, which probed photography itself—from the role of light, color, composition, to materiality and the subject.What Is a Photograph? brings together these artists, who reinvented photography.

From the press release for the exhibit:

On view at the International Center of Photography from January 31 through May 4, 2014, What Is a Photograph? explores the range of creative experimentation that has occurred in photography since the 1970s.

This major exhibition brings together 21 emerging and established artists who have reconsidered and reinvented the role of light, color, composition, materiality, and the subject in the art of photography. In the process, they have also confronted an unexpected revolution in the medium with the rise of digital technology, which has resulted in imaginative reexaminations of the art of analog photography, the new world of digital images, and the hybrid creations of both systems as they come together.

“Artists around the globe have been experimenting with and redrawing the boundaries of traditional photography for decades,” said ICP Curator Carol Squiers, who organized the exhibit. “Although digital photography seems to have made analog obsolete, artists continue to make works that are photographic objects, using both old technologies and new, crisscrossing boundaries and blending techniques.”

Among those included in the exhibition is Lucas Samaras, who adopted the newly developed Polaroid camera in the late 1960s and early 1970s and immediately began altering its instant prints, creating fantastical nude self-portraits. Another artist who turned to photography in the 1970s was Sigmar Polke. Although better known as a painter, Polke explored nontraditional ways of photographing and printing, manipulating both his film and prints in the darkroom and often drawing and painting on his images.

More recently, Liz Deschenes has used camera-less photography in a subtle investigation of nonrepresentational forms of expression and the outmoded technologies of photography. And, James Welling has created a heterogeneous body of work that explores optics, human perception, and a range of photographic genres both abstract and representational.


Matthew Brandt b. 1982, Los Angeles; lives and works in Los Angeles.
Marco Breuer b. 1966, Landshut, Germany; lives and works in New York State.
Liz Deschenes b. 1966, Boston; lives and works in New York City.
Adam Fuss b. 1961, London; lives and works in New York City.
Owen Kydd b. 1975, Calgary, Canada; lives and works in Los Angeles.
Floris Neusüss b. 1937, Lennep, Germany; lives and works in Kassel, Germany.
Marlo Pascual b. 1972, Nashville; lives and works in Brooklyn.
Sigmar Polke 1941–2010; Germany.
Eileen Quinlan b. 1972, Boston; lives and works in New York City.
Jon Rafman b. 1981, Montreal; lives and works in Montreal.
Gerhard Richter b. 1932, Dresden; lives and works in Cologne.
Mariah Robertson b. 1975, Indianapolis; lives and works in Brooklyn.
Alison Rossiter b. 1953, Jackson, Mississippi; lives and works in the metro New York area.
Lucas Samaras b. 1936, Macedonia, Greece; lives and works in New York City.
David Benjamin Sherry b. 1981, Woodstock, New York; lives and works in Los Angeles.
Travess Smalley b. 1986, Huntington, West Virginia; lives and works in New York City.
Kate Steciw b. 1978, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; lives and works in Brooklyn.
Artie Vierkant b. 1986, Breinerd, Minnesota; lives and works in New York City.
James Welling b. 1951, Hartford, Connecticut; lives and works in Los Angeles.
Christopher Williams b. 1956, Los Angeles; lives and works in Cologne, Düsseldorf, and Amsterdam. Letha Wilson b. 1976, Honolulu; lives and works in Brooklyn.


The show will be accompanied by a full-color catalogue published by DelMonico Books • Prestel with essays by Carol Squiers, Geoffrey Batchen, Hito Steyerl, and George Baker.

What Is a Photograph? (ICP/ DelMonico Books • Prestel, 2014) 224 pages + 200 illustrations
9 1/4 x 11 inches
Hardcover; US $49.95

Publication date: January 2014

What Is a Photograph? is generously supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, Deborah Jerome and Peter Guggenheimer, the Consulate General of Germany New York, and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council…

…About ICP

The International Center of Photography (ICP) is the world’s leading institution dedicated to the practice and understanding of photography and the reproduced image in all its forms. Through our exhibitions, educational programs, and community outreach, we offer an open forum for dialogue about the role images play in our culture. Since our founding, we have presented more than 500 exhibitions and offered thousands of classes, providing instruction at every level. ICP is a center where photographers and artists, students and scholars can create and interpret the world of the image within our comprehensive educational and archival facilities. Visit www.icp.org for more information.

Read the press release it its source here.

2 thoughts on “If You Happen To Be In New York City

  1. Pingback: If You Happen To Be In New York | Raxa Collective

  2. Pingback: Nature Has The Long View | Raxa Collective

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