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Black Soil: Chernozem and Tusit in Ukraine (January 2017)

Black soil was packed into a plexiglass sarcophagus two feet wide and six feet high. We stood in the basement of the Center for Urban History of East Central Europe in the UNESCO World Heritage–designated, Western Ukrainian city of Lviv, variously called Lemberg, Lvovuv, or Lviv depending on which country claimed or occupied it. The soil defied iPhone photography. Black soil. ChernozemRead more>

54th New York Film Festival’s “Projections” (January 2017)

54th New York Film Festival’s “Projections”
New York City
October 7–9, 2016

Focusing less on the avant-garde canonical tradition and more on the endless possibilities of the moving image, Projections, the avant-garde section of the New York Film Festival, has become a laboratory of visionaries where cinema invokes critical thinking on its own terms.

The focus of the festival-within-a-festival in a three-day span and the intimate space of the two screening rooms of the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center enabled an ongoing discussion in which each program had its own internal rhythm while still creating a space for self-reflection…Read more>

The Light Inside: Wendy Snyder MacNeil, Photographs and Films (August 2016)

The Light Inside: Wendy Snyder MacNeil, Photographs and Films

Two figures pose against an old building; one sticks out its tongue, an aged hand reaching up to hold a devilish mask over its unseen face. This photograph, Williamsville, Vermont (1972), from the portfolio Unitarian Universalist Church, Williamsville VT (1967–72) by Wendy Snyder MacNeil, is a self-portrait with the artist’s grandmother. But at first glance, their diminutive presence against the abstracted geometry of the weatherboard reminded me of someone else: the careful composition and playful use of masking as a refusal to meet the gaze of her own camera brought to mind the childhood work of Francesca Woodman—one of Snyder MacNeil’s most famous students…Read more>

Nicholas Nixon: About Forty Years (April 2016)

Nicholas Nixon: About Forty Years

Wandering into Fraenkel Gallery, I was unexpectedly struck by an image in this show of Nicholas Nixon’s large format, black-and-white photographs. The picture hung alongside two others that were also taken in the late 1980s during the height of the AIDS crisis in the United States. In the first photograph, George Gannett, Barrington, Rhode Island (1989), a man lies sleeping beside a window. With his gaunt head hanging backward and his mouth agape, he is visibly exhausted. Medical equipment fills the room as testimony to death’s banalities…Read more>

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Inaugurates the Met Breuer (March 2016)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Inaugurates the Met Breuer

Great artists reinvent themselves continually. Great museums do too. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the biggest museum in the Western Hemisphere, houses an encyclopedic collection that spans history and the globe, with important works from ancient Egypt to sound pieces commissioned this year. Its strong suit has never been Modern and Contemporary Art, until a mammoth gift in March 2013 of eighty-one Cubist masterworks from cosmetics billionaire Leonard A. Lauder. Now, the museum has to make room for it…Read more>

Illumination: An Exhibition of Fine Art Photography (January 2016)

Illumination: An Exhibition of Fine Art Photography

Agora Gallery
New York City
November 3–24, 2015

Recently on view at Agora Gallery (located in Chelsea under the High Line park), the exhibition Illumination: An Exhibition of Fine Art Photography included nine photographers. Among the stunning landscapes and abstract images of their co-exhibitors, three women—Bruna Vangi, Hermoine Macura, and Samanta Aretino—stood out precisely because their images included working-class subjects, women, children, and the disabled. These women’s images capture global concerns while demonstrating the wide variety of human existence…Read more>

Best of Enemies (November 2015)

Best of Enemies

By Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon
Magnolia Pictures/2015/87 min.

I wonder what Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon, the two co-directors of the documentary Best of Enemies (2015), would say about Network. Sidney Lumet’s 1976 film examines the career of Howard Beale, a veteran newscaster who denounces television on air and then finds himself denouncing it night after night before an audience of millions. Much of the film’s brilliance derives from one paradoxical insight: media critique makes for great viewing. Tune in to any screen—iPhone, -Mac, or -Pad, or even an old fashioned television—and you’ll see hundreds of Beales, trashing the news/entertainment complex that’s made them millionaires…Read more>

James Carman: Grasshopper Lies heavy: A Remembrance of Hiroshima 70 Years On (September 2015)

James Carman: Grasshopper Lies heavy: A Remembrance of Hiroshima 70 Years On

PointB
Brooklyn
August 6–September 11, 2015

The nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were unprecedented in human history. Preceding today’s drone warfare, they marked the first time that the push of a button reduced entire cities to rubble and people to shadows. The blasts, combined with the radiation sickness and burns in the months after the bombs, would kill more than 200,000 people and scar the Japanese people and culture for decades to come. James Carman’s current exhibition, The Grasshopper Lies heavy: A Remembrance of Hiroshima 70 Years On, seeks to explore these scars, make something beautiful from the tragedy, and hopefully help us move toward peace…Read more>

One-Way Ticket: Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series and Other Works, by Claire Ittner (July 2015)

One-Way Ticket: Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series and Other Works

Museum of Modern Art
New York City
April 3–September 7, 2015

One-Way Ticket: Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series and Other Works, an exhibition of Jacob Lawrence’s sweeping, sixty-panel Migration Series, opened in May at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), with an air of somewhat more august momentousness than has been common within the museum’s increasingly Bjork-ified walls. This was partly due to the strange history of the Migration Series itself: divided, even-odd, between the collections of MoMA and the Phillips Collection, in Washington DC, it is united only once a generation or so…Read more>

A Chandelier for One of Many Possible Ends, by Rebecca Rafferty (June 2015)

Phillip Stearns: A Chandelier for One of Many Possible Ends
Burchfield Penney Art Center
Buffalo
December 12, 2014–March 29, 2015

A single installation recently filled the Contemporary Project Space at Burchfield Penney Art Center. A Chandelier for One of Many Possible Ends, created by Brooklyn-based artist and designer Phillip Stearns, was inspired by the March 11, 2011, Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, the largest nuclear incident since the Chernobyl disaster in April 1986…Read more>

Unloaded, by Jen Saffron (May 2015)

Unloaded
SPACE
Pittsburgh
February 13–April 26, 2015

The photograph has long been used to source evidence of crime scenes, destruction, and death. Perhaps one of the most powerful aspects of Unloaded is that it avoided such images. To its credit, it was also devoid of propaganda about one of the most propagandized aspects of American culture: the right to bear arms.

Unloaded presented the gun, itself, through sculpture, photography, video, mixed media, and text. Of nineteen artists, about half exhibited photography and video and, overall, the exhibition—devoid of wall labels and other didactic wall text—allowed the viewer enough space for contemplation about the role of guns in US society…Read more>

55th Thessaloniki International Film Festival 19142014: 100 Years of Greek Cinema (January 2014)

55th Thessaloniki International Film Festival 19142014: 100 Years of Greek Cinema
Thessaloniki, Greece
October 31–November 9, 2014

Aristotelous Square in the heart of the city of Thessaloniki is home to the Olympion movie theater and the Pavlos Zannas Cinema five floors above it (the latter named for the founder of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival, or TIFF). There, large stray dogs roam among the pigeons, curl up, and doze; the more aggressive and adventurous ones chase after cars at night. They strut along the Thermaic Gulf waterfront, sniffing street vendor stalls hawking sesame seed-coated koulouri, and entering the dock warehouse area enlivened by temporary festival headquarters and four bustling cinemas with names memorializing Greek-American auteur John Cassavetes, actor-director Stavros Tornes, and director-screenwriters Tonia Marketaki and Frida Liappa… Read more>

Nick Marshall: _e_scapes, by Rebecca Rafferty (December 2014)

Nick Marshall: _e_scapes
Hartnett Gallery, University of Rochester
Rochester, New York
November 20–December 14, 2014

The work in Nick Marshall’s recent exhibition, _e_scapes, is full of subtle wit, allusions to illusions, and humorous commentary on our relationship with escape. Seven photographs-of-photographs lined the left wall of the gallery; four paintings, in which the paint is the subject, lined the right side; and a hybrid work combining the media and concepts of both was positioned in the sharp corner of the triangular space. A continuous line of horizon lines connected the works in one floating flow from one side to the other.…Read more>

Jim Campbell: Rhythms of Perception, by Seth Thompson (June 2014)

Jim Campbell: Rhythms of Perception
Museum of the Moving Image
New York City
March 21–June 15, 2014

“Contemplative” and “reflective” are fitting identifiers in describing the engaging exhibition Jim Campbell: Rhythms of Perception at the Museum of the Moving Image, organized by guest curator Steve Dietz. Featuring over twenty media projects, including electronic installations and low-resolution video works that span almost thirty years of production, this was San Francisco-based Campbell’s first museum show in New York City…Read more>

Ragnar Kjartansson: Me, My Mother, My Father, and I, by Paul Thomas Rubery (June 2014)

Ragnar Kjartansson: Me, My Mother, My Father, and I
The New Museum
New York, New York
May 7–June 29, 2014

In Ragnar Kjartansson’s performance and video installation, Take Me Here by the Dishwasher: Memorial for a Marriage (2011/2014), men with guitars sit scattered across the gallery space, congregated beneath a single-channel projection. On screen, a housewife solicits the attention of her plumber, they exchange passionate glances, and she strips the shirt off his back. A softcore pornographic scene follows for the next three minutes, and runs on a loop for the duration of the exhibition. Lyrics composed by Kjartan Sveinsson, formerly of Sigur Rós, lend dialogue to the episode and directive to the guitarists….Read more>

Jessica Lieberman: Becoming Visible, by Meredith Davenport (November 2013)

Jessica Lieberman: Becoming Visible
Gallery R
Rochester, New York
November 1–29, 2013

Jessica Lieberman’s Becoming Visible begins with an image that is one of the most intimate photographs in the exhibit and also the most disengaged. It is a composite of CT scans of the inside of the artist’s body that images the cancer that was attacking her. A photograph that follows—a stop sign in a hospital warning that all siblings must be screened for illness before passing—announces the entrance into a world where illness is redefined. Lieberman explains this in her text: “In 1998 I was diagnosed with cancer . . . the problem with that sentence is its simplicity; its certainty; its clarity. There is nothing in its linguistic container that at all represents my experience of illness…” Read more>

Larry Merrill: Tree as Photograph, by Rebecca Rafferty (November, 2013)

Larry Merrill: Tree as Photograph
Nazareth College Arts Center Gallery
Rochester, New York
November 1–December 8, 2013

When photographer Larry Merrill set out to create a new body of work in 2008, he stumbled upon his subject during regular walks with his poodle, Tucker. Time spent with any companion—and attention given to their interactions—will widen the world a bit, more so if your companion is of another species, with a vastly different (and unapologetically enthusiastic) sensual experience. Merrill’s current exhibit at Nazareth College Arts Center Gallery, Tree as Photograph, focuses on some of the oldest living things we encounter in our daily lives, which often ironically become visual white noise as we concern ourselves primarily with other humans and our human creations… Read more >

Return to Babylon, by Henry Weil (May, 2013)

Cyprien Gaillard: The Crystal World
MoMA PS1
January 20 – March 18, 2013

My knowledge of ancient Babylon is limited to middle-school textbook illustrations of the Hanging Gardens and the Ishtar Gate, and tales of ruthless leaders battling lions with their bare hands. Apart from the obvious point that such representations cater to the attention span of pre-pubescent youth, they nevertheless influence how this once-powerful civilization is contrived and perpetuated in popular imagination… Read more>

The 55th BFI London Film Festival, by Sharon Lin Tay (December, 2011)

The 55th BFI London Film Festival
London
October 12–27, 2011

Given the regularity of the London Film Festival, it is tempting to read each year’s offerings as cultural and political barometers. This year, the tumultuous times have provided us with some interesting films, whether meditating on the human cost of the Iraq war, documenting and contextualizing the Arab Spring, reflecting on the cynicism of the United States political process, or proposing an alternative set of political and social ideals…Read more>

Report: 39th International Film Festival—FEST 2011, by Radmila Djuric (May, 2011)

39th International Film Festival—FEST 2011
Belgrade, Serbia
February 25–March 6, 2011

Belgrade’s 39th International Film Festival, FEST 2011, sold more than 93,000 tickets and included a diverse array of films by established directors and rising international stars, along with festival premieres by leading directors in and around Serbia. The award-winning British actor and now film director Ralph Fiennes opened FEST 2011 with his directorial debut, Coriolanus (2010)… Read more>

Report: 2010 Reykjavík International Film Festival, by Steven Yates (December, 2010)

The 2010 Reykjavík International Film Festival
Reykjavík, Iceland
September 23–October 3, 2010

Iceland may have made world news in 2010 for the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruptions and the temporary halting of air travel, but the seventh annual Reykjavík International Film Festival was more concerned with cultural eruptions. Despite Iceland being more renowned for its remoteness and unique terrain, it has progressively made inroads into global popular culture. The first resonances came with the music scene of the early 1980s, documented in Rock in Reykjavík (Rokk í Reykjavík, 1982) by director Fridrik Thor Fridriksson and featuring Björk and her first band Tappi Tíkarrass alongside many of Iceland’s post-punk outfits… Read more>

Report: 54th London Film Festival, by Alison Frank (December, 2010)

54th London Film Festival
October 13–28, 2010

The London Film Festival (LFF) is an annual 16-day event hosted by the British Film Institute. While not as globally significant a festival as Cannes, Venice, Karlovy Vary, or Toronto, the LFF is ambitious in scope, offering its audiences more than two hundred feature films from around the world, many accompanied by their respective directors and actors. A handful of big-name films, especially those having their premiere at LFF, had red-carpet gala screenings at Leicester Square… Read more>

Commentary: The End of an Era, Not the End of the World, by Luke Strosnider (August, 2010)

Analog photography’s long death rattle was heard again recently, as the last manufactured roll of Kodachrome was processed at Dwayne’s Photo in Parsons, Kansas. Media coverage was intense, with everyone from National Public Radio to the pop-technology blog Gizmodo offering coverage of this latest chapter in the “end of film…” Read more>

Commentary: The Case Against Lawrence Brose, by William C. Altreuter (July, 2010)

Posted July 29, 2010 Lawrence Brose’s best-known work, De Profundis (1997, reviewed in Afterimage in July 1998), is an experimental film meditation about queerness, masculinity, history, and sexuality that takes its title from Oscar Wilde’s letter from prison. Wilde was a gay martyr who would have preferred to be remembered for his art. Brose almost certainly feels the same way… Read more>

Five Stages of Grief: Interviewing Juraj Krasnohorsky, by Steven Yates (May, 2010)

Slovak director Juraj Krasnohorsky’s debut, a 15-minute short film entitled x= x+1 (2009), is an ambitious production, and not just for filming with a Red Digital cinema camera at 4,000 resolution and transferring to 35mm film. The story concerns a husband and wife (Mr. and Mrs. X) who enter their apartment only to find another married couple entering soon after, who also believe they are the only ones at home… Read more>

Committed to Creativity: Sweet Meat Co., by David Yockel (April, 2010)

Sweet Meat Co.
Hungerford Building
Rochester, New York
January 25–February 1, 2010

In the early twentieth century, the Hungerford Building on Main Street in downtown Rochester, New York, was the hub of the J. Hungerford Smith Company known for making “True Fruit” flavored syrups. So when Erich Lehman, owner and curator of 1975—a gallery living in a semi-permanent space within a salon in the South Wedge district of Rochester—put together a group of artists to comprise his latest collective project, the name Sweet Meat Co. seemed to hit the nail on the proverbial head… Read more>

Milton Rogovin’s 2 by 2, by Joseph Entin (January, 2010)

In December 2009, self-identified “social documentary” photographer Milton Rogovin turned 100. The occasion of his centennial birthday offers an opportune moment to reflect on his career and accomplishments. A political radical who was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1957—at which time he was labeled by the Buffalo Evening News as the city’s “Number One Red”—Rogovin worked in relative obscurity for much of his long career, taking photographic portraits of people he refers to as “the forgotten ones”… Read more>

From the Issue

Gaining Identity Through the Archive in Qiana Mestrich’s Hard to Place (From Vol. 44, no. 1&2)

Gaining Identity Through the Archive in Qiana Mestrich’s Hard to Place

Amanda Chestnut

Qiana Mestrich’s Hard to Place (2016) is an intimate family portrait that simultaneously explores the maternal, the home, and a sense of belonging, while addressing urgency in the loss of all those things. In 2013, Mestrich acquired the adoption records of Joseph, a mixed-race child of Irish and Nigerian dissent who spent some of his childhood during the 1960s and ’70s living with his impoverished Irish-born birth mother in London. This photobook is a combination of those adoption records, photographs, and images of objects saved by Joseph over the years, as well as contemporary images from Mestrich’s own life. Mestrich was a speaker at the 2016 Photo-Bookworks Symposium at Visual Studies Workshop…Read more>

Transmediale: Festival for Art & Digital Culture (From Vol. 43, no. 5)

Transmediale: Festival for Art & Digital Culture
Berlin
February 3–7, 2016

Andrea Liu

From Skype duets to an artist shaking hands with one thousand people and then tak­ing “Microbiome Selfies” of the germs on his hands, from a performance of a flying drone to a brief history of the air-raid siren, from angst about maker culture being co-opted to complaints about the creeping complicity of the sharing economy with neoliberalism, Transmediale is an annual five-day festival in Berlin that approaches digital art, technology, and culture from a mind-bogglingly diverse panoply of conceptual, theoretical, and disci­plinary starting points…Read more>

The Cowboy Prince (From Vol. 43, no. 5)

The Cowboy Prince

by John Aäsp

In fall of 2015, Richard Prince exhibited a sculpture titled Cowboy at Barbara Gladstone Gallery in Chelsea in New York City, which was both predictable and surprising. Prince’s long preoccupation with the cowboy image started with the work he produced in the 1980s while working in the tearsheets department of Time magazine. There he became attracted to the images used in Marlboro ads, which employed variations on the mythic, ruggedly handsome character to sell cigarettes. Prince rephotographed the ads with the skills of an amateur, cropping out the logo and ad copy and having them reprinted…Read more>

Scientific Creativity: The Notebooks of Rose Lowder (From Vol. 43, no. 1&2)

Scientific Creativity: The Notebooks of Rose Lowder

by Tara Merenda Nelson

I was first exposed to Rose Lowder’s films in 2003, while attending monthly screenings at Pittsburgh’s experimental film focused micro-cinema, Jefferson Presents. The audience for Jefferson Presents typically consisted of artists, musicians, filmmakers, and experimental film enthusiasts. Screenings were loud and lively, and it was uncommon for a film to go by without enthusiastic cheers and jeers from the audience. But when a Rose Lowder film was shown, the room was inevitably silent (as are most of her films), and the audience became fully immersed in an all-engrossing visual experience: red poppies danced in sunny fields traversed by sailboats gliding on shimmering blue oceans; bustling city streets in summer intertwined with empty urban plazas in autumn…Read more>

Metaphor and Memento in Christine Shank’s Our First Year Together (From Vol. 43, no. 1&2)

Metaphor and Memento in Christine Shank’s Our First Year Together

by Rebecca J. DeRoo

Christine Shank’s powerful and continually unfolding work, our first year together, is an ongoing series of photographs and edition of two artists’ books, begun in 2009 and exhibited at Visual Studies Workshop in fall 2014. The title suggests the story of a couple or a human relationship. This is reinforced by two images: one showing an anonymous male figure and the other an anonymous female figure. The woman is photographed from behind, with long hair obscuring her features, and the man’s eyes are closed in contemplation, so that the individuals’ identities and experiences remain ambiguous. Instead, photographs of domestic objects, still lifes, and landscapes evoke conflicting emotions, interpersonal dynamics, and various moments in the trajectory of a relationship…Read more>

Arresting Power: Resisting Police Violence in Portland, Oregon (From Vol. 42, no. 6)

Arresting Power: Resisting Police Violence in Portland, Oregon

By Jodi Darby, Julie Perini, and Erin Yanke/2015/84 min.

In rare confluences of timing and artfulness, documentary films, at their best, can fill a breach, sound a clarion call, and coalesce communities to action. Arresting Power: Resisting Police Violence in Portland, Oregon premiered January 15, 2015, at the Northwest Film Center in Portland at a time when primetime media reports of racially motivated police use of deadly force aired with disturbing frequency across the nation. In the case of Arresting Power’s premiere, the packed art-house venue spoke strongly to the tenets of relational filmmaking that underscored its making…Read more>

The Artist as Debtor: A Conference about the Work of Artists in the Age of Speculative Capitalism (From Vol. 42, no. 5)

The Artist as Debtor: A Conference about the Work of Artists in the Age of Speculative Capitalism 
New York City
January 23, 2015

Within the law there is a type of debt, incurred through wickedness, that cannot be dissolved—debt that arises from fraud, willful and malicious injury, or wrongful death cases, for instance— transgressions meriting court-awarded restitution. Strangely snuggled within this otherwise criminal realm are student loans, debts that, at present, cannot be forgiven or discharged for any reason, including bankruptcy. Far from being a harmless legal quirk, this iron-clad debt signals one of the larger structural evils into which a new generation is being delivered, part of what some are naming a “culture of indenture.” Artists Coco Fusco and Noah Fischer recently organized a daylong conference at Cooper Union to address the deeply interwoven effects of debt and advanced capital on artists and art education today…Read more>

The Space Between: Redefining Public and Personal in Smartphone Photography, by Faheem Haider (From Vol. 42, no. 4)

The Space Between: Redefining Public and Personal in Smartphone Photography
Center for Photography at Woodstock
Woodstock, New York
June 28–September 15, 2014

Photography now marches in lockstep with smartphones and engages all the imagemaking possibilities (democratic, social, individualistic, narcissistic) that smartphones invite—although one might not notice this turn when visiting most contemporary photography shows. This past summer, however, the exceptional group exhibition at the Center for Photography at Woodstock, The Space Between: Redefining Public and Personal in Smartphone Photography, offered a surprising corrective grounded in the ways photographers actually capture images in the present, fluctuating moment where so much of art, photography, communication, and documentation is contested and political. What’s more, the show sowed fertile ground for the progressive moves ahead in photography, and in the ways we picture ourselves…Read more>

Unsettled/Desasosiego: Children in a World of Gangs, by David Bacon (From Vol. 42, no. 2)

Unsettled/Desasosiego: Children in a World of Gangs
Photographs by Donna De Cesare
University of Texas Press, 2013
164 pp./$65.00 (hb)

Today the tattooed faces and bodies of Salvadoran gang members are put on display for readers of US and European newspapers and magazines in much the same way that images of tattooed indigenous people in New Guinea were used to titillate readers of National Geographic at the dawn of photography more than a century ago.

Young Salvadorans are pictured behind bars or with guns, just as people labeled “savages” were once posed with spears. This is the dehumanization of the indigenous. Even the language accompanying the images carries the same flavor of the exotic, the dangerous, and the “other”—something to frighten comfortable middle-class viewers with what seems an inside look at an alien and violent world…Read more>

kate hers RHEE, by Samuel Adams (From Vol. 42, no. 2)

kate hers RHEE
Berlinische Galerie­
Berlin
April 30–May 26, 2014

Upon entering the IBB-Videolounge at the Berlinische Galerie, I was greeted by a close-up of a woman’s mouth, barking German racial slurs. One sees only the performer’s lips and subtitles accompanying her utterances. The speech is clear, deliberate, and detached from its content. After being the victim of numerous racially oriented verbal attacks in Berlin, artist kate hers RHEE began researching derogatory German expressions. The eventual result was Ach du heilige Scheiβe!(Oh holy shit!) (2012), a poem composed entirely of German insults…  Read more>

Damage Control: Art and Destruction Since 1950, by Kathryn Kramer (From Vol. 41, no. 4)

Damage Control: Art and Destruction Since 1950
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Washington, DC
October 24, 2013–May 26, 2014

The tricky process of cranking operations back up just a week after the federal government reopened resulted in a mashup of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden’s press preview and opening reception of Damage Control: Art and Destruction Since 1950. While the press was pleased to be part of the festivities, especially to witness Raphael Montañez Ortiz’s Piano Destruction Concert performed live in the museum’s outdoor plaza, others may have been aggravated by the opening’s shattered exclusivity. Whether perceiving the schedule annihilation as positive or negative, all those who grappled with the exhibition’s thematics of destruction had to note a correlation between the government shutdown’s destructive dimensions and what is currently on exhibit in Damage Control…Read more->

14th Annual Woodstock Film Festival, by Karen vanMeenen (From Vol. 41, no. 3)

14th Annual Woodstock Film Festival
Woodstock, New York
October 2-6, 2013

The fourteenth annual Woodstock film festival exists under the tagline of “fiercely independent” and, although it offers its fair share of glamorous people, parties, and awards, it manages to give the smaller film and emerging filmmakers equal footing as well as to utilize small and alternative theaters and screening venues throughout several towns in the Catskills region. This year’s festival, still directed by cofounder Meira Blaustein, offered more than two dozen narrative and two dozen documentary features, and several shorts programs, all juried by renowned makers…Read more>

From Beyond the Former West, by Victoria Hindley  (From Vol. 40, no. 1)

3rd Former West Research Congress
Academy of Fine Arts and Secession
Vienna, Austria
April 19–20, 2012

Initiated and organized by Maria Hlavajova, Former West is a long-term (2008–14) international research, education, publishing, conference, and exhibition initiative. With a focus on contemporary art and theory, it aims to create a platform for reflection on the cultural, artistic, and economic changes that have affected the world since the end of the Cold War in 1989. The project reexamines this period “in dialogue with post- communist and post-colonial thought;… Read more>

Introduction: Aesthetics of Atrocity, by Karen vanMeenen (From Vol. 39, no. 1&2)

In “Wound Culture: Trauma in the Pathological Public Sphere” (1997), Mark Seltzer approaches our “wound culture” in terms of the collapse of private and public (subject and world), claiming (as Susan Sontag later would) that there is a “public fascination with torn and open bodies and torn and open persons,” calling it a “collective gathering around shock, trauma, and the wound.” Using examples from literature and film, Seltzer examines this element of spectacle, what he refers to as the “pathological public sphere,” concluding that “sociality and the wound have become inseparable,” an intriguing commentary on the collective response to images of trauma. Read more>

Remembering to Remember: Three Photojournalism Icons of the Bosnian War, by Joscelyn Jurich (From Vol. 39, no. 1&2)

It is like nothing I have ever seen before. Except on television or in photographs. The images are familiar: the coffins passed hand-to-hand. The weeping mothers. The mass graves strewn with skulls and bones. The burials. The location is foreign, as it almost always is. Some of these images flash like icons before my eyes and before my camera, which I am using as a shield between myself and the heart-wrenching horror surrounding me…Read more>

Nothing Becomes Something, by Luke Strosnider (From Vol.  38, no. 5)

Without You I Am Nothing: Art and Its Audience
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
November 20, 2010–May 1, 2011

It is a well-worn cliché: the aloof artist, creating in solitude, purposefully ignoring the critics and the hoi polloi, seeking not accolades but only the purest expression of his or her singular inner vision. This exaggerated stereotype may make for an entertaining Hollywood biopic, but, as most artists know, their work needs to engage an audience. British artist Liam Gillick puts it this way: “Without people, it’s not art—it’s something else—stuff in a room…” Read more>

Art as Redemption, by Karen vanMeenen   (From Vol. 37, no. 6)

Willy Souza: Mexico in your Senses
Mexico City
March 4–April 23, 2010

Mexico has recently suffered from negative media attention due to its social and criminal problems. With a major new touring exhibition of his work, “Mexico in your Senses,” Mexican filmmaker and photographer Willy Souza aims to counteract these stereotypes and encourage Mexicans to regain pride in the myriad strengths and positive strong cultural heritage of their country… Read more>

Crane Takes Flight, by Luke Strosnider  (From Vol. 37, no. 5)

Barbara Crane: Challenging Vision
Chicago Cultural Center
October 3, 2009–January 10, 2010

Barbara Crane is a photographer’s photographer. Creator of a voluminous and highly influential body of work, she’s well known throughout the art world and a true legend in her hometown of Chicago. Although she’s not the flashy, big-name artist who might earn a career retrospective at MoMA, she deserves one and “Challenging Vision” (2009), a thorough look at her career of more than sixty years, was a good first step. Spanning all manner of technologies, concepts, and genres, the exhibition was a unique look not only at the work of one woman, but at the ideas and technologies that defined the last six decades of photographic history… Read more>

Exile and Becoming, by Victoria Hindley  (From Vol. 37, no. 4)

A Step to the Right
Open Space Zentrum für Kunstprojekte
Vienna, Austria
September 9–October 3, 2009

“A Step to the Right” builds its aesthetic narrative around “the politics of becoming”—the paradoxical process through which a new cultural identity is forged yet not reduced by the process. The exhibition is framed by the migrant experience, captured both in the artists’ subjects and the artists themselves. Maintaining that one must revive the sociopolitical arguments around “becoming,” curator Gülsen Bal embodies the contemporary imperative to fortify the role artists play in challenging established codes of power relations… Read more>

Quiet Spectacle: An Interview with Chris Hondros, by Jen Saffron (From Vol. 35, no. 6)

Through a growing thicket of visas, checkpoints, Humvees, and dust, war photographer Chris Hondros shoots on—cycling in and out of Iraq, chronicling the war since its beginning. His images appear on the covers of major newspapers, such as the New York Times and the Washington Post, as well as in art galleries and academic publications… Read more>

FROM THE ISSUE

Current Issue, Vol. 45, no. 1

PORTFOLIO
Beyond The Drama by Saara Mäntylä

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Congratulations and Celebrations by Ellen Lesperance

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Wish for Amnesia by Barbara Rosenthal


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Speculations and Inquiries on New Participatory Documentary Environments


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Toward a Theory of Participatory New Media Documentary


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Documentary Untethered, Documentary Becoming


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Collaborative Documentary Practice: Histories, Theories, Practices


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Sondra Perry: flesh out


EXHIBITION REVIEW
Zach Nader: stage blind

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Of the Appalachian Diaspora Text by Stephen J. Quigley
Photographs by April L. O'Brien


Outside My Outdoor Shower There Is a Carnival Text by Lisa Annelouise Rentz
Photographs by Michelle Mueller
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