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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
A pioneering documentary of photography's transition from its position during the 1960s at the periphery of the art world to one of today's most acclaimed forms of self-expression, Transformed Photography represents the vast and unusual works of art from the acclaimed Metropolitan Bank & Trust Collection. This catalogue depicts more than 200 artists' works, from Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg to Nan Goldin and Andreas Gursky, through the display of more than 300 beautiful color-plate reproductions. One of the foremost contemporary art critics, Klaus Kertess, places the images in context with the entire movement to establish photography as a widely accepted art form through a sophisticated and in-depth introduction that traces the varied photographic tributaries flowing from the works and theories of photography's founders.
Starting with such conceptual artists as Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg and such photographers as Walker Evans and Bernd and Hilla Becher, Kertess traces the slowly vanishing boundaries between documentation and art (both high and low) and explains the impact of mass media and consumerism on an art form that lends itself to repetition and seriality. As Kertess explains, photography is driven by rather Nabokovian questions of perception and perspective "where the conundrum of illusion slowly turns into an illusion of conundrum."
Moving on to the inheritors of these techniques and theories, Kertess introduces a number of key artists whose works are displayed in this book. Kertess highlights the unique aspects of the works and then places them in the framework of significant themes of this period: staged vs. straight photography, the camera as witness, and the position of "I" in the artist's works.
Kertess's essay does justice to the vast and layered works of art that fill the pages of this book, proving that photography is in fact at the center stage of the art world today. Ranging from the eerie and profound works of Islamic photographer Shirin Neshat to the playful, tongue-in-cheek works of Sherrie Levine, the breadth of these individual pieces of art astound, disquiet, and sometimes shock the reader. This beautiful book is bound to please both the art aficionado and the casual reader who leafs through it on your coffee table. (Kristen Dahlmann)