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The Uses of Photography

Art, Politics, and the Reinvention of a Medium

Jill Dawsey (Editor), Pamela M. Lee (Contributor), Benjamin Young (Contributor), Judith Rodenbeck (Contributor), David Antin (Contributor)

Available worldwide

Hardcover, 240 pages
ISBN: 9780520290594
September 2016
$45.00, £34.95
The Uses of Photography examines a network of artists who were active in Southern California between the late 1960s and early 1980s and whose experiments with photography opened the medium to a profusion of new strategies and subjects. These artists introduced urgent social issues and themes of everyday life into the seemingly neutral territory of conceptual art, through photographic works that took on hybrid forms, from books and postcards to video and text-and-image installations. Tracing a crucial history of photoconceptual practice, The Uses of Photography focuses on an artistic community that formed in and around the young University of California San Diego, founded in 1960, and its visual arts department, founded in 1967. Artists such as Eleanor Antin, Allan Kaprow, Fred Lonidier, Martha Rosler, Allan Sekula, and Carrie Mae Weems employed photography and its expanded forms as a means to dismantle modernist autonomy, to contest notions of photographic truth, and to engage in political critique. The work of these artists shaped emergent accounts of postmodernism in the visual arts and their influence is felt throughout the global contemporary art world today.

Contributors include David Antin, Pamela M. Lee, Judith Rodenbeck, and Benjamin J. Young.

Published in association with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.

Exhibition dates:
Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego: September 24, 2016–January 2, 2017
Jill Dawsey is Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Prior to joining MCASD, she held curatorial posts at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. Dawsey’s recent exhibitions include Laugh-in: Art, Comedy, Performance (2015), Approximately Infinite Universe (2014), and The Smithson Effect (2011, for the UMFA). She received her PhD in art history from Stanford University and holds a BA from Bryn Mawr College.
<p>Eleanor Antin<br /> <em>Caught in the Act, 1973</em><br /> black-and-white video, sound<br /> 36 min.<br /> Courtesy Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York</p> <p>Fred Lonidier<br /> <em>29 Arrests,</em> 1972<br /> gelatin silver prints with text, each: 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 in. <br /> Collection Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego Museum purchase with funds from Lynn and Danah Fayman, by exchange, and proceeds from the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego Biennial Art Auction 2014, 2014.15 © Fred Lonidier.</p> <p>Babette Mangolte<br /> <em>There? Where?</em>, 1979<br /> 16mm color film transferred to DVD, 10 min. Courtesy of the artist.</p> <p>Martha Rosler<br /> <em>Boys’ Room</em> from <em>House Beautiful: Bringing the War Home, c. 1967-72</em><br /> Photomontage<br /> Courtesy of the artist and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York</p> <p>Allan Sekula<br /> <em>Untitled Slide Sequence,</em> 1972/2011<br /> twenty-five archival grayscale pigment prints<br /> Framed (each): 14 1/4 × 20 1/2in. (36.2 × 52.1cm)<br /> Collection Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego<br /> Museum purchase with funds provided by Danah and Lynn Fayman by exchange and proceeds from the 2012 Biennial Art Auction</p> <p>Carrie Mae Weems<br /> <em>Welcome Home</em>, from <em>Family Pictures and Stories</em>, 1978-84<br /> gelatin silver prints, text, two audio tracks<br /> 24 x 36 in.<br /> Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York</p>

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