Item description for Americans: The Social Landscape From 1940 until 2006 by Peter Weiermair...
A bakers' dozen of the best photographers of the past hundred years, from Helen Levitt and Gordon Parks to Nan Goldin and Ryan McGinley, are brought together here in a series of portfolios expanding on Robert Frank's Americans. Together they consider generations of social upheavals, crises, and shifts in U.S. society, responding to societal problems with attitudes from concerned to ecstatic. Helen Levitt's East Village and Bruce Davidson's are the same, and yet nothing alike, as are Richard Avedon's Texas and Rosalind Solomon's New Orleans, Diane Arbus's periphery and Lee Friedlander's loneliness at the center of the world, Peter Hujar's transsexuals and Larry Clark's boys. While the "concerned photography" of the mid-twentieth century can seem to demand the acceptance of the nonconformist behavior it tracks, and the recognition of social ills, the most recent contributions here avoid those moral undertones, documenting the hedonistic cult of youth, its promiscuity and ideology of fun. They do not judge but may provoke viewers into their own judgments, and always to thought.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 11.18" Width: 10.08" Height: 0.94" Weight: 4.06 lbs.
Release Date Mar 1, 2007
ISBN 8889431687 ISBN13 9788889431689
Availability 0 units.
More About Peter Weiermair
Peter Weiermair is director of the Galleria d'Arte Moderna in Bologna, Italy. He has curated over 400 exhibitions and has published numerous books and articles on modern and contemporary art.
Reviews - What do customers think about Americans: The Social Landscape From 1940 until 2006?
Images of the melting pot Apr 6, 2008
The first thing that struck about this book was the amazing print quality. As far as I can tell the screen used is 250 to 300dpi (maybe higher!) and it was produced at the publisher's plant in Bologna. On page sixty-two there is a wonderful photo by Bruce Davidson of a laughing woman sitting in an apartment, the camera captures her and also looks out of the window so you can see the street scene below where it's possible to read the street signs and ads on a shop.
The thirteen photographers featured get ten images each (though the exhibition had 173) I think it would be fair to say that with just this small number their style and point-of-view clearly comes across. Interestingly the viewer's point-of-view will come into play as the pages are turned. The last two photographers, Ed Templeton and Ryan McGinley don't do anything for me. I find their photos far too subjective and in the case of McGinley the color work seems not much better than snaps but I can appreciate that their coverage of youth culture probably resonates with that market so their inclusion in a book of American photographers looking at the social landscape is justified.
Though there are only ten photos to sum up each contributor I thought the choice was interesting. Robert Frank has two from 1951 predating his 'The Americans' book, Gordon Parks brilliant American Gothic is here but also a 1970 shot of Eldridge Cleaver. Those from Diane Arbus are well known and Richard Avedon's contribution are from his book 'In the American West'.
Despite the stunning print quality there are some annoying editorial flaws (very typical of exhibition catalogs) in the text. At the back of the book there is Exhibits, a list of photographer's and their work arranged alphabetically but annoyingly the entries for each are not arranged according to the sequence of printed photos in the book, so the list for Avedon starts with page 124 and then the sequence is 118, 120-121, 115, 117, 116, 119 and 123. All the listings are in this annoying format. After Exhibits there is a biography of each photographer, you would have thought alphabetical but no, it's arranged according to the book's printed sequence so Helen Levitt comes first then Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, Bruce Davidson, Gordon Parks etc. For an expensive art book I would expected the publishers to be more professional.
So, some editorial nonsense but still a wonderful collection of beautifully printed photos that jump of the page and mostly, in my view, sum up American photography over the last few decades. To expand some of the book's themes further check out The Last Photographic Heroes: American Photographers of the Sixties and Seventies. An excellent survey.
***FOR AN INSIDE LOOK click 'customer images' under the cover.