Short Posts Archive

Short Posts Archive

On "Slow Forward," a Retrospective of the Work of Joan Rachaelsdaughter at UMF Art Gallery, 10 March to 10 April 2016 Joan Rachaelsdaughter’s work combines, in uncanny distillations, intimately tactile materiality and formally realized visual image. Her best work is placed as if mystically in that...

The Patience of Seeing: Hiroshi Sugimoto’s Oceans and Movie Theaters Keeping his camera’s lens open for the duration of movies, or setting his camera on long exposures before various seas and oceans, photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto created two series of images that empty and fill the visual...

On Mad Men’s Betty There is an immense and impenetrable friendliness to certain kinds of capitalist exchange. The love of family, lifelong friends, none of these comes close to the frictionless glissade of buying face-to-face that which could be gotten elsewhere cheaper, or that which...

Francesca Woodman: Melancholy Fashion In February, I visited Francesca Woodman’s show I’m Trying My Hand at Fashion (Marian Goodman Gallery, 24 W 57th, NYC), and have some thoughts, analytical and personal, on the show. Many of the photographs at Marian Goodman for this exhibit are shown...

James Nachtwey's Photographs and the problem of the Modern James Nachtwey’s photographs raise the question of who is responsible for holding trauma, and what is the place of the traumatized in culture? Another way to frame this question is to ask who is responsible for holding...

Rebecca Belmore and the Photograph of the Wound Barthes argues that the photograph, if it has power, wounds us, shooting a puncturing arrow into our psyches—very much like Cupid, only this Cupid is one of memory and mourning rather than desire. And yet memory, mourning, and...

Francesca Woodman’s Zen   In Photography Degree Zero, Jay Prosser writes, with clarity and very persuasively, about the Buddhist strand in Barthes’ Camera Lucida, arguing that here, in his last book, Barthes the semiotician confronts or is forced to come up against the limits of words. In...

Francesca Woodman and the Polka Dot Oneiric   The camera-produced image, the photograph, does not invite or permit the viewer’s act of imagination, argues Baudrillard: the hyperreal instead stays above the mortal and dreaming world, a kind of final, fatal Platonic form. Here Baudrillard extends, perhaps, Adorno’s...

On Graham MacIndoe’s Missing Persons images   These photographs test with severity and brilliance Barthes’ dictum that the photograph is the emblem of mortal time. Each image is a photograph of a photograph—showing the faces of missing persons for whom someone made a poster and posted...

On Citizen Ghosts: The Un-Americans  For a while, when I was still teaching for the Studies in Women and Gender Program, a program at that time headed by anthropologist Kath Weston, I taught a course on women and ghosts. The premise of the course was to...