With her Untitled Film Stills of the 1970s, Cindy Sherman became one of the era's most important and influential artists. Since then, her metamorphosing self-portraits and appropriation of genres can be seen as a continuous investigation of representation and its complicated relationship to photography. Sherman and her work are often discussed in terms of postmodern theories and ideas that were coming to increasing prominence as her career began—feminism, subjectivity, mass media, new forms of mechanical reproduction, and even trauma, among others.
As we spend more and more of our time staring at the screens of movies, televisions, computers, and handheld devices—"windows" full of moving images, texts, and icons—how the world is framed has become as important as what is in the frame. In The Virtual Window, Anne Friedberg examines the window as metaphor, as architectural component, and as an opening to the dematerialized reality we see on the screen.
For the past two decades Louise Lawler has been taking photographs of art in situ, from small poignant black-and-white images of art in people's homes to large format glossy color pictures of art in museums and in auction houses. In addition she has produced a variety of objects—paperweights, etched drinking glasses, matchbooks, gallery announcements—all of which cleverly describe how art comes to accrue value as it moves through various systems of exchange.
The island of Borneo is a place of great natural beauty and rich biodiversity. From the peaks of the majestic Mount Kinabalu to the enchanting coral-fringed islands that lie offshore, with vast tracts of lush rainforest in between, Borneo's landscape is as varied as it is magnificent. In Wild Borneo, author Nick Garbutt embarks upon a fascinating investigation into the wonders of this island, exploring every aspect of Borneo's terrain, from its rainforest-covered lowland areas to its mountain ranges, highland areas, and winding rivers.
Bernd and Hilla Becher's photography can be considered conceptual art, typological study, and topological documentation. Their work can be linked to the Neue Sachlichkeit movement of the 1920s and to such masters of German photography as Karl Blossfeldt, August Sander, and Albert Renger-Patzsch. Their photographs documenting the architecture of industrial structures, taken over the course of forty years, make up the most important body of work to be found in independent objective photography.
Jaroslav Rossler (1902-1990) was one of the Czech avant-garde photographers of the first half of the twentieth century whose work has only recently become known outside Eastern Europe. Czech photography in the twenties and thirties produced radical modernist works that incorporated principles of abstract art and constructivism; Jaroslav Rossler was one of the most important and distinctive artists of the period.
The old dream of social belonging and political sovereignty—the dream of nation—was fraught with anxiety and contradiction for many artists and intellectuals in the 1950s. On the one hand, memories of the Second World War remained vivid and the chauvinism that had enabled it threatened to return with the growing tensions of the Cold War. On the other hand, the need to bind together into a new global identity—into a world nation or "family of man"—seemed ever more pressing as a bulwark against the rapidly expanding threat of a nuclear World War III.
In 1994, an interim government in Rwanda orchestrated one of the world's worst mass crimes: a 100-day extermination campaign that took half a million lives. At the time, Rwanda's genocide went largely unnoticed by the outside world. Today there is growing interest in the Rwandan experience as many discover the horror that took place and seek to understand how and why violence of this character and magnitude could have happened in our time.
In An American Lens, Jay Bochner looks at a series of milestones in the development of the American avant-garde that capture a pivotal period in artistic consciousness. He focuses on the multiple roles of Alfred Stieglitz—as influential gallery owner, photographer, and impresario of the emerging art scene—at a series of significant moments in his career. These close-ups offer a more intense and expanded understanding of the subject than the familiar long view.
Seen from space, the earth is blue. That luminous blueness is water—the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic, and Antarctic oceans. Seventy percent of what we call "earth" is under water. Life began in the ocean, and the ocean still plays a vital role in our lives and the earth's ecosystem. More than half the world's population lives within a few miles of the sea; we're drawn to it to swim, surf, sail, or simply gaze out across the waves.