‘Acting Out’

Photography Review | ‘Acting Out’
Wandering in a Forest of Poses
Published: September 2, 2005
New York Times

“Acting Out” puts 33 works on view, mostly large color photographs by 13 fairly young artists from the United States, Israel and Europe. It originated at the University of Iowa Museum of Art in Iowa City, where it was organized by Kathleen A. Edwards, the museum’s curator of prints, drawings, photographs and new media.

On the essay “explaining” the point of the show…

“Ms. Edwards’s essay is in some ways the most interesting part of the whole effort. Tracing notions about melodrama and visual storytelling to the 19th-century – in history painting, the theater and early photography – she touches on amusing hand-colored lobby cards of actors dressed like the three bears, for example. She also delves into phrenology, the implicitly racist, pseudo-scientific study of the human face and skull for signs of intelligence and character. She quotes the movie director Douglas Sirk, a big influence in this realm, and alludes to the latest wrinkles in fashion photography.

Yet it gives interesting background to subjects widely discussed since the original “Pictures” exhibition, namely the reflexive human need to attach meaning to photographs, to give them a logical “before” and plausible “after,” and the tendency of most photographs to thwart such neatening-up, remaining essentially ambiguous.”


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