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The Photographic Activity of Post-modernism – Douglas Crimp. 5 January I was relieved to find that this essay was not about. The Photographic Activity of Postmodernism . attribute to the kind of photographic activity I call postmodernist. .. Douglas Crimp, “Pictures,” October, no. Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR’s Terms and Conditions of Use, available at.

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Pluralismis, as we know,thatfantasythatartis free,freeofother discourses,institutions,free,above all, of history. Crimp states that mechanical reproduction led to a crisis in museums galleries around when they stopped showing contemporary work and looked backwards. If Levine’s photographsoccupya place on thatspectrumofphotography-as- art,it would be at the farthestreaches of straightphotography,not only because thephotographsshe appropriatesoperatewithin thatmode but because she does not manipulate her photographs in any way; she merely,and literally,takes photographs.

The pose of authorshipis dispensedwithnot only throughthemechanicalmeans of making postmofernism image, but throughthe effacement of any continuous, essential persona or even recognizablevisage in the scenes depicted.

And how do we know the authenticfromits reproduction? Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: When Crimp writes about the pluralism of originals and the plurality or dispersal of copies, is this an acknowledgement of the value of mechanical reproduction?


They use art not to reveal theartist’s trueself,but to show the selfas an imaginaryconstruct. So, was there an absence as a result? The quotation, takenfromone of theghosttales of Henry James, was a false tautology,which played on the double, indeed antithetical,meaning of the word presence: Their images are purloined, confiscated,appropriated, stolen. The key words here seem to be representation and appropriation. What I wanted to explain was how to get fromthisconditionof presence-the being therenecessitatedbyperformance-to thatkind of presencethatis possible only throughtheabsence thatwe know to be theconditionofrepresentation.


Although, thinking about it, in a culture that has only a few hundred years of history, most artifacts more than a fortnight old would belong in a museum! It is thataspect of thework thatcan be put to the testof chemical analysis or of connoisseurship,thataspect which the discipline of art history,at least in its guise as Kunstwissenschaft, is able to prove or disprove,and thatas- pect, therefore, which eitheradmits the work of art into, or banishes it from,the museum.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. And she does not createtheseguises; she simplychooses themin theway thatany ofus do.

Review of ‘The Photographic Activity of Postmodernism (1993), Douglas Crimp

He said, forexample, that the people in theseearlyphotographs “had an aura about them,a medium which mingled with theirmanner of looking and photogrqphic them a plenitude and security. Once photographs acquire an aura, they will compete for museum gallery wall space and associated funding. This site uses cookies.

Photography is always a representation. Such presenceis what I attribute to the kind of photographicactivityI call postmodernist. Their aesthetic,which synthe- sizes tactile with optical qualities, definesitselfin conscious opposi- douglqs to photographyand all formsof mechanical reproductionwhich seek to deprive the art work of its unique “aura.

JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. This second photograph is part of my Project: The talk last night during the hang out was really useful, and I was very glad to have joined and grateful to Peter for his time.


Instinctivelyand without effort,I dividedmyself,so to speak,into twopersons,ofwhom one, thereal,the genuine one, continued on her own account, while the other, a successfulimitationof thefirst,was delegatedto have relationswith the world. This notion of presenceis what we tje when we say, forexample, thatLaurie Andersonis a performerwith presence.

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Post- modernism”sponsoredby Parachute in Montreal,October These institutionscan be named at theoutset: Email required Dogulas never made public. For Levine’s autobiographical statementis onlya stringofquotations pilferedfromothers;and ifwe mightthink thisa strangeway of writingabout one’s own workingmethods,thenperhapswe should turnto thework it describes.

Postmodernismis about art’s dispersal,its plurality,by which I certainlydo not mean pluralism.

Thoughts on Douglas Crimp’s essay The Photographic Activity of Postmodernism – Amano Level Three

The museum has embracedboth of thesephenomena with equal enthusiasm,not to say voraciousness. Notify me of new thr via email. The view I am expressing might be criticised as that of a connoisseur, someone who knows about and appreciates fine printing. Mortified, hurt,horror- struck,I had thehatefulsensationof having placed myselfblindlyand completely in unworthyhands.

In postmodernist art this is not usually noticeable, it is the concept that matters rather than the way that diuglas has been communicated.

This content downloaded from At the opposite end of thatspectrumis thephotographywhich is self-consciouslycomposed, manipulated, fictionalized,the so-called directorial mode, in which we findsuch auteursof photographyas Duane Michaels and Les Krims.