MATTHEW BIRO is Professor in the Department of the History of Art at the University of Michigan. He is the author of Anselm Kiefer and the Philosophy of Martin Heidegger (1998), The Dada Cyborg: Visions of the New Human in Weimar Berlin (2009), and Anselm Kiefer (2013). His reviews of contemporary art, film, and photography have appeared in Artforum, Contemporary, Art Papers, and The New Art Examiner.
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Can art today be a form of protest? And, if so, what subjects, what issues, what transgressions or injustices, does it most vitally and persuasively critique? In many ways, the obvious answer to this question is yes.
Comprising a total of forty-five medium-sized photographs, La Calle (The Street), presents highlights culled from more than forty trips that Alex Webb took through Mexico between 1975 and 2007.
For Rosalind Krauss, the pivotal difference between Dada photomontage and Surrealist photography had to do with the relative presence of either the photographer or the world in the image itself. Surrealist photographs are not interpretations of reality, decoding it, as in Heartfields photomontages. They are presentations of that very reality as configured, or coded, or written.
It’s taken a long time for Bruce Conner (1933 2008), the polymath San Francisco artist who was a major force in the development of both found-object sculpture and experimental film in the United States, to be given a major retrospective.
Since the late 1970s, Carrie Mae Weems has pursued a socially engaged form of creative practice, examining how identity is constructed through concepts of race, gender, and class, while interrogating the processes by which we produce a sense of self in relation to both private memory and public history.