1. "Ours is now a society of the spectacle, with sponsored happenings and large-scale events that degrade art as a tool of the culture industry and an art market with top prices for important works that only a wealthy few can afford. This can be seen as a step back towards the re-feudalisation of art."
  4. Ash and Going Home
    Going Home
    Going Home


    I just got my hands on two books, Going Home and Ash, by the Chinese photographer Muge. I had written about his work a few years ago based on images I saw online, but this is the first time I have seen his books. Both books were made in 2013 and they work as a pair. For Going Home, Muge photographed the route back along the Yangtze river to his hometown of Chongqing in the aftermath of the construction of the Three Gorges Dam. The book is made up primarily of portraits within landscapes: muted images invested with a palpable sense of fear for the future that is woven into the nostalgia of Muge’s return home. Ash is the more poetic of the two books, a series of loose plates of still lives and interiors that share the same dusty tonality of the former book. For Ash, Muge turned inwards, away from the portrait and the landscape, combining images in order to explore a specific atmosphere and emotion. Muge’s use of the square format at times reminds me of the Japanese photographer Issei Suda and, although he is still young (b. 1979), he seems to have more affinities with this older generation of photographers than with much of contemporary photography. His two books are great examples of the fact that, even today, things can still happen by simply taking a camera and going out into the world. 

    Right: “even today, things can still happen by simply taking a camera and going out into the world.”


  5. "A few weeks ago, I met the photographer, Charlie Krupa, for the first time. He works for the Associated Press, and he came to my house to photograph my fiancée and I for an article. The first thing he said to me was, “I’m sorry.” That surprised me. I didn’t think he’d feel any guilt or regret, because he hadn’t done anything wrong. I told Charlie not to worry. He was doing his job that day, and he was doing it well. People still write me to say how much the photo meant to them. I told Charlie that I understand now, like I didn’t then, that he was helping us that day, in the best way he knew how. He was documenting what happened. He was showing the world the truth – that bombs tear flesh and smash bones – and making the tragedy real."
  6. Peter van Agtmael - Bobby Henline didn’t realize how badly he was injured until he returned home. When that sank in, he prayed for God to take him in his sleep. He didn’t want to be a burden on his family. Houston, Texas. USA. 2013

    See my review of van Agtmael’s masterly Disco Night Sept 11 here.

  7. new-aesthetic:

    Art Of The Bush School | greg.org: the making of, by greg allen

    This is as good a time as any to point out that Bush painted his portraits, not just from photographs—a common enough practice as well as a long-established conceptual strategy, though I think only the former pertains here—but from the top search result on Google Images. Many photos were taken from the subject’s Wikipedia entry. Bush based his paintings on the literally first-to-surface, easiest-to-find photos of his subjects. Is this meaningful in any way? If he had one, it would mean Bush’s studio assistant is very, very lazy. But in all his discussion of it, Bush’s painting practice appears to be a solitary one. He apparently did not tap the enormous archive of photos, taken by the professionals who followed him every day for eight years, which are contained in his giant library. Instead, it seems, he Googled the world leaders he made such impactful relationships with himself, and took the first straight-on headshot he saw. […] The point is, once again, art matters. Art has surfaced in the most dire circumstances, at a crucial moment in our society’s history, produced by someone whose actions and moral standing confound our engagement with it. And culturally speaking, we don’t care; we’d rather see Bush’s folksy pictures from the internet. Every news story about Bush’s paintings represents ten reports not filed about Bush’s torture. In the art world, meanwhile, we’d rather not see it at all. Better to condemn and dismiss it quickly. Snark and move on. Stoke the indignance that keeps us and our practices unsullied. Ward off any engagement with cowering incantations of connoisseurship and facture. This is how art appears in our society today. Art works, as they say, and this is what it does: it absolves and redeems and defuses and deflects. Ultimately, George Bush’s paintings are important less for what they show, than for what they obscure. And the art world’s critical structures seem unable or unwilling to meet the challenge posed by the art of the torture & terrorism school.
  8. composersdoingnormalshit:

    John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen in a plane.


  9. "How can anyone know the depths of another person? After all, if we put an itemized list of quirks and signifiers into the world—and, in the age of social media, this is often literal—like a lazy writer, can we blame anyone for reading us with as little care?"

  10. theincoherentlight:


    In a way, it is strange to think of August Sander as a photographer at the heart of the 20th Century - his work seems to belong to an earlier time and, in a sense, it does; his great subject, which he brings so piercingly to life, is the social continuity of a world then about to…

  12. (Source: simokaitis)


  13. "What Parr-Badger have not yet done, though, is rigorously prune their shelves. If they want to see themselves as unofficial curators of the genre, then they need to make some tough and, no doubt, controversial judgments. The history of art is not a democracy in which every photo is as good as every other. It’s easy to be a revisionist if all you do is permit a lot of titles into your history that earlier writers ignored or excluded. By allowing into their Volumes any book that intrigues or amuses them, or that has an outré or political edge, they have shied away from having to defend which ones are the most vital and why some (and not others) have had—or should have—lasting influence."
  14. Pick a spot in Google Street View and this nifty tool makes a little projection for you.

  15. Bahar Habibi, from Whispers will become eternal; find my interview with the photographer here.