×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Contemporary Photography and the Garden: Deceits and Fantasies
     

Contemporary Photography and the Garden: Deceits and Fantasies

5.0 1
by Thomas Padon
 

See All Formats & Editions

Gardens have inspired artists for hundreds of years. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, photographers ranging from Eugène Atget to Edward Steichen were drawn to gardens for their beauty and their metaphorical associations. A century later, in the mid-1980s, an unusually large number of artists returned to the garden as a subject for their photography.

Overview

Gardens have inspired artists for hundreds of years. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, photographers ranging from Eugène Atget to Edward Steichen were drawn to gardens for their beauty and their metaphorical associations. A century later, in the mid-1980s, an unusually large number of artists returned to the garden as a subject for their photography.

This lovely book devoted to the garden photography of contemporary artists accompanies an exhibition organized by the American Federation of Arts. The photographs-by Gregory Crewdson, Len Jenshel, Erica Lennard, Sally Mann, Catherine Opie, Jack Pierson, and other acclaimed artists-demonstrate a remarkably wide range of artistic responses to the garden. Whether presenting it as a haven of tranquility and lyrical beauty or drawing on it as a dark visual metaphor for the manipulation of nature, these photographs express the artists' investigation of the forms, atmosphere, and symbolism of the garden. Essays by Thomas Padon, Robert Harrison, Ronald Jones, and Shirin Neshat bring historical and contextual insight to the fascination many contemporary artists have with this popular subject.

Author Bio: Thomas Padon, curator of the exhibition, is deputy director for exhibitions and programs at the American Federation of Arts, where he has organized many major traveling art exhibitions. Robert Harrison teaches philosophy, French and Italian literature, and European cultural history at Stanford University. Ronald Jones is an artist and critic who teaches at art schools in Frankfurt and Stockholm. Shirin Neshat is a New York-based artist whose photographs and videos have appeared in many international exhibitions.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
These are not your typical books about gardens. While each has its own perspective on the garden, conceptually and by design, both enjoy staking the garden as a place that is honored by artists or can become art. Art of the Garden, which accompanies an exhibition of the same name at Tate Britain, is a well-intentioned but weak assemblage of many painters' appreciation of gardens. It does feature some well-known art (often reproduced on too small a scale) but adds little to the greater bibliography of gardening. Many other books (e.g., Roy Strong's The Artist and the Garden) offer visually rich examples of plantings, design, and the art of gardening. The title of Padon's book is somewhat misleading since it is less about gardens and more a stage for edgy photographs about plants, remote vegetation, and parks. Padon (Nancy Graves) may have discovered a new niche, but the book he has assembled is a poor start. Unfocused images and extreme closeups prove more unnerving than revealing. A big, isolated tree and even a photograph of an electric chair all stretch the meaning of "garden," which would be fine if it opened up possibilities and understanding. This seems more an effort to dissociate a garden from its aesthetic pleasures and natural beauty. All in all, these are clumsy volumes that set out to overintellectualize gardens. Not recommended.-David Bryant, New Canaan Lib., CT Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781885444295
Publisher:
American Federation of Arts, The
Publication date:
09/28/2004
Pages:
162

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Contemporary Photography and the Garden 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Thomas Padon's fine book/catalogue (made to accompany a traveling exhibition of the works included) is one to please a diverse audience: garden lovers, art history devotees, and those addicted to the art of fine photography will all find this very special book one of endless pleasure. The concept of the garden as the subject for a photographic essay is a unique one and the artists whose works range from the old concepts to the contemporary and utilizing all manner of camera techniques are some of the best in this field. This is not simply collected garden shots but rather images of the mysteries both immediately accessible and those more occult that require time and repeated exposure to appreciate. The dialogue of the book is provided with fine essays not only by Padon but also by such fine and creative minds as Robert Harrison, Ronald Jones, and Shirin Neshat. But in the end the book is about pictures and these rare images are captured by such disparate artists as Catherine Opie, Sally Mann, Len Jenschel, Jack Pierson, Sally Apfelbaum, Daniel Boudinet, Peter Fischli and David Weiss to name but a few. The gardens are represented by locations from India, Japan, Europe, North and South America and are selected to investigate the symbolism both spiritual and cultural that these wondrous images capture. Every aspect of this book is set with loving care and is worthy of the libraries of everyone in love with the secret treasures of the Garden. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp