rock abstract --archives

From the archives: an abstract  that would have been made around 2001-2, before there was the ocean of  digital images in social media where people  consume  and discard images so rapidly.  Before the emergence of our image-heavy world,  where it is  no longer  enough to simply ‘make a photograph'. Photography now needs  some concepts or ideas.    

This looks back  to that time, when as  argued by photo historians such as  Lyle Rexer and Carol Squires something happened to photography in the 1960s/1970s that made it impossible to look at art photographs  in the traditional way. What shifted with this event,  it is argued,   was the emergence of an assumption that photography never did simply open a window on the world. Photography  as a window on the world was the  traditional view of photography, but there  had also been artists who had been experimenting with and redrawing the boundaries of traditional photography for decades. 

That event was conceptual art, the movement that saw a gravitation toward language-based art, a lo-fi aesthetic   and an understanding of  art as primarily a way of exploring ideas--then  anti-commodification, social and/or political critique, and ideas/information as medium  Although it often yielded nothing more than ephemeral events or experiments, its impact is all over the art world. Conceptual art introduced to the art world various types of photography that had been excluded or ignored, while calling attention to the fact that even photographs that seemed straightforward often demanded a second look.