Unlike many notable private art collections that serve the public good only after they have been donated to a museum (or turned into museums of their own), the Mott-Warsh Collection was conceived to fulfill a larger social purpose.
It doesn’t seem right to call the latest issue of Aperture — its first issue dedicated to African American lives as represented by the medium of photography — a magazine. It is a powerhouse book; it does so much heavy lifting.
On Wednesday, at Manhattan’s famed Radio City Music Hall, artist Carrie Mae Weems delivered a powerful commencement address to 1,100 graduates of the School of Visual Arts.
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Spanning several media, much of the work in Us Is Them makes social commentary from the perspective of underrepresented populations. Notably, the show features some of the biggest names in contemporary African-American art, bringing the focus on the fraught nature of black existence in the US.
This year, Carrie Mae Weems gets the distinctive honor of becoming the first African-American woman to have a retrospective at the Guggenheim — her first major exhibition at any New York museum, ever. It’s one of those honors that sits at an awkward intersection, both disappointing and profound.
What is included in the field of a work of art? The medium may be painting or performance, the subject matter may be landscapes or the death of a lover, and the aesthetics may come from a particular tradition or vein of art. But beyond that, when we discuss a work of art, what else can or should be included in that conversation?
Over at MoMA, there are two big survey shows that focus on a single theme throughout the history of photography from the heyday of the daguerreotype through to the present. The first, Pictures by Women: A History of Modern Photography, is an “installation that comprises more than 200 works by approximately 120 artists.” The second is an examination of photography’s relationship to sculpture titled The Original Copy: The Photography of Sculpture, 1839 to Today, that “brings together over 300 photographs, magazines, and journals, by more than 100 artists” … A good exhibition is not a numbers game. And in Pictures by Women, which is a little diffuse, it shows.