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MoMA

NEW PHOTOGRAPHY 2011: A MULTITUDE OF VOICES

October 6, 2011  |  Artists, New Photography 2011
New Photography 2011: A Multitude of Voices

George Georgiou. Mersin. 2007. Pigmented inkjet print. Courtesy of the artist. © 2011 George Georgiou

In January of this year, when we first began discussing artists to include in New Photography 2011, I outlined my hopes for the exhibition to my colleagues in the Department of Photography. I wanted more photographers than the two to four that are traditionally featured in the show, which has been put on annually since 1985. I wanted these photographers to represent a diverse cross-section of the international art community, and I wanted their work to be engaged with the world in which they live. By showing such a rich array of photographers, the exhibition would suggest that there is no simple way to sum up the medium today—and that is precisely why it is such an exciting time to be in the field.

Viviane Sassen. Parasomnia

Viviane Sassen. Parasomnia. 2010. Chromogenic color print. Courtesy the artist; Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town; and Motive Gallery, Amsterdam. © 2011 Viviane Sassen

New Photography 2011 features six artists working in a wide variety of different, yet complementary, styles: Moyra Davey (Canadian, b. 1958), George Georgiou (British, b. 1961), Deana Lawson (American, b. 1972), Doug Rickard (American, b. 1968), Viviane Sassen (Dutch, b. 1972), and Zhang Dali (Chinese, b. 1963). Some participate in new trends in digital image-making, while others comment on these developments in a consciously analog manner. Still others disregard the issue entirely. Whether using analog forms of communication, like Moyra Davey; the documentary approach of George Georgiou; conventions of portraiture, like Deana Lawson; Web-based images like Doug Rickard; Viviane Sassen’s self-reflective analysis; or an appropriative practice, like Zhang Dali, each of the artists in New Photography 2011 has his or her own individual means of addressing issues that are relevant today.

The timeline for planning the New Photography 2011 exhibition is much shorter than that of a retrospective exhibition on the Museum’s sixth floor. While it might take two, three, or even five years to plan those major shows, New Photography is proposed, developed, and installed in only nine months. While this compressed schedule certainly presents its own set of complexities and problems, it also presents the unique opportunity for the Museum to react and respond to the newest and freshest work being made by artists today. Working with living artists also allows for a dialogue that influences the selected works for exhibition. Sometimes there are new pieces that have never been seen before by anyone other than the artist and the curator. New Photography 2011 is special because it really does show new and exciting photographs.

Comments

What I’ve seen of this exhibition on-line looks great. Agreed: photography these days is a very diverse discipline. And this show seems to capture a good part of what’s happening now. I haven’t seen the show in the MoMA yet, but plan to get there to see it. Congrats to Mr. Leers and to the Museum. Thanks for continuing this great tradition of the annual photo show.

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