PAINTING IN TECHNICOLOR
Now we're going to shift gears just a little bit, to ask a question from a slightly different perspective, and to say this: By the mid-20th century, various forms of photographic reality had really displaced painting's authority as a mode of conveying current events and as a mode of translating current events into historically significant and memorable ones.
People got their news from the television.
And even their sense of history was greatly augmented by photographic representations.
At the same time, photography didn't occupy the same space on the wall as history painting had in the museum.
So, it sort of framed our collective memories of contemporary events, and of history, but it didn't offer the same satisfactions of a museum-going experience, as did monumental painting and sculpture.
So we find an artist like Jeff Wall-- an artist who is actually formally trained in art history,
and at the same time, an artist who's preferring to work in photographic media-- asking himself, 'can photography compete with history paintings?'
Can it compete with painting on the walls of the museum, to offer a similar viewer experience, and offer the rewards of a similarly intended mode of composition as the grand tradition of history painting?
So, we're looking at Jeff Wall's "A Sudden Gust of Wind (After Hokusai)", from 1993.( Collapse )