No Picture, No Name: a Survey of contemporary photography

Once you are in the MOMA you are part of the establishment. Entropy is as much a reality in the art world as anywhere, the inexorable loss of modernity. To truly be considered contemporary when must something have been created?  At what point does an object of art give over to it's own contemporaneous entropy and become a 'movement', or worse a 'school'?

Then we have to speak about what establishes a work as art, at what point – upon how many viewings does something become considered worthy of a place on a hallowed museum wall?

Clearly the MOMA people know what they are doing, so we will call this immediate art, or immediate photography.

In order to find the artists displayed in No Picture No Name the curator/director Robert Dimin and Jaclyn Acker had to put in a lot of foot work. Its easy to grab 12 undergraduate photography students and throw them at the wall and see what sticks; it's an entirely different thing to curate a show of the most immediate photography.


The works we see here are the works of various new and emerging photographers 13 in total.  There does seem to be the beginnings of a theme running through the show. Of the artists shown, only 3 seem to be doing representative photography, that is to say pictures of things.

Far more of the gallery is given over to abstraction and instillation. The cover of the exhibit Mich Paster's Untitled (RYB) 2012 has more in common with Rothko than Loie Fuller, but Brian McGovern Wilson uses polariods to create an atmospheric, impressionistic look in his series Trinity Pilgrimage, which owes a lot to DiCorcia and contemporary composition.


The show was stolen by Evan Yee who created an instillation piece with a giant lightbox, showing a 3-D ship, with golden 3-D glasses one had to wear to view the piece. The idea being, 3-d gives us a headache, so we put our values into the glasses (that is to say the illusion), rather than the image itself, very Guy Debord, a little pretentious, but worth it.

Overall the works here are a brilliant sample of immediate photography, and shows us perhaps what will become contemporary in a few years time.


Review by John Hutt

Photographs by Ali  Rajabi

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