Edition Jacob Samuel (2010)

OUTSIDE THE BOX EDITION JACOB SAMUEL, 1988 – 2010 ARMAND HAMMER MUSEUM May 23 – August 29, 2010 Jacob Samuel, a master printer and the art world’s “best-kept secret” has a life that many would envy.   He gets artists to think “outside the box.”  As...

Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904), Part Two

Eadweard Muybridge and the Horses of Leland Stanford Part One In his 2013  book, The Inventor and the Tycoon: A Guilded Age Murder and the Birth of Moving Pictures, Edward Ball wrote, somewhat dramatically that “Muybridge, the photographer, killed cooly in a...

Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904), Part One

Eadward Muybridge in Yosemite  Eadweard Muybridge lived many lives under many names, rose and fell, appeared and disappeared, invented and re-invented himself. In the nineteenth century, you could do that sort of thing. This was a century of non-identity, meaning...

Michael West: The Artist was a Woman

MICHAEL WEST: PAINTINGS FROM THE FORTIES TO THE EIGHTIES ART RESOURCE GROUP Newport Beach June 5 – September 25, 2010 The Fifties. According to Gore Vidal, the worst decade in the history of the world—unless, of course, you happened to be white, male,...

Debating Timothy O’Sullivan (1840-1882) Part One

Timothy O’Sullivan: Exploring the West Part One In retrospect, it is something of an oddity that twenty-one year old Timothy O’Sullivan was not drafted into the ranks of the Union Army for the American Civil War. After all many young Irishmen, fresh to the...

The Art of the Steal (2009)

THE ART OF THE STEAL (2009) The Barnes Foundation and Art Collecting The story of how the world-famous Barnes Collection was moved from its long-time home in Merion, Pennsylvania to downtown Philadelphia is told in tones of indignation as a vast conspiracy of moneyed...

Alexander Gardner (1821-1882) The Way West

Alexander Gardner: The Last of the West Once it was customary, in less sensitive times, to refer proudly to “winning the West,” a triumphalist trumpeting of conquest and colonialism in which “we,” the authors of history, white people, pushed...

Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010)

ONE MORE TIME—WHAT IS ART? This year has brought two very good films on the art world, first, The Art of the Steal about the Barnes Collections (reviewed on this site) and, now, Exit Through the Gift Shop. The title refers to the museum blockbuster, which routes...

Alexander Gardner (1821-1882) The Civil War

Alexander Gardner and the Civil War Referring of his work as a photographer of the American Civil War, Alexander Gardner said, “It is designed to speak for itself. As mementos of the fearful struggle through which the country has just passed, it is confidently hoped...

The Legacy of Matthew Brady (1823/4-1896)

MATTHEW BRADY AND HIS OPERATIVES “The camera is the eye of history.” Matthew Brady From Portraiture to the Civil War It is unclear precisely when Matthew Brady was born, in fact, in an 1891 interview, the photographer himself said “I go back to near...

Carleton Watkins (1829-1916)

PHOTOGRAPHING THE AMERICAN WEST PART ONE Carleton Watkins in Yosemite  In a virtually unreadable book on the discovery of the California territory called “Yosemite,” the first owner of a tourist establishment in what became a national park, James M....

Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-1879)

SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION Artful Photography Julia Margaret Cameron and the Eminent Victorians Julia Margaret Cameron knew absolutely everyone worth knowing in Victorian England or she was connected to someone who knew those she did not know. Her connections to the...

Censorship Redeux: The Smithsonian and MOCA LA

SCOUNDREL TIME, AGAIN—CENSORSHIP RETURNS Art of the Streets at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 2011 Like the swallows return to Capistrano, censorship of art returns every time forces of morality feel emboldened or threatened.  Two decades ago, it...

The Cult of Images and Celebrity

NADAR AND THE CELEBRITIES Gaspard-Félix Tournachon (1820-1910) The poet and art critic, Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867), who never met a camera he didn’t pose for, wrote a famous diatribe against photography and its narcissistic pleasures. After a long preamble...

Through the Looking Glass with Lewis Carroll

THE TROUBLESOME AMATEUR Lewis Carroll (1832-1898) A Question of Interpretation For early photographers one of the most astonishing aspects of camera vision was the lack of control of the maker. The plethora of detail must have been particularly shocking for those...

Photographing the American Civil War

THE CAMERA AND THE WAR Matthew Brady’s Operatives “My greatest aim has been to advance the art of photography and to make it what I think I have, a great and truthful medium of history.” Matthew Brady Without a doubt the best book written on the...

Maxime Du Camp and Travel Photography

IMPERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY Maxime Du Camp (1822-1894)  The Camera’s Vision Photography inherited the conventions of painting and these conventions are artificially organized into hierarchies that emphasize contents according to the subject matter. Other objects are...

Roger Fenton: Photographing Crimean War

ROGER FENTON IN THE CRIMEA The Beginnings of War Photography The Crimean War It would be interesting to create a history out of the importance of maps and the stories they tell. Take the map of Russia for example. The nation is huge but it is locked between the Arctic...

Roger Fenton and the Victorian Era

PHOTOGRAPHY IN THE VICTORIAN ERA Roger Fenton (1819-1869) Royal Patronage and Photography By the middle of the nineteenth century, the dominate power in the world was Great Britain, a pair of small islands off the coast of continental Europe. Thanks to its powerful...

If you have found this material useful, please give credit to Dr. Jeanne S. M. Willette and Art History Unstuffed.
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