March 21, 2015 – May 31, 2015
“Click” and you have it, an image stored on your cellphone’s micro-processor for the world to see as soon as you upload to Flicker or Facebook. Great? Yes. Art? Maybe yes, maybe no.
That is the question curators, collectors, art historians, and photographers have been asking since the invention of photography in the nineteenth century. Perhaps more than any other graphic advancement, photography has provided the artist with the freedom to explore imagery beyond pure representation. Why take the time and energy to paint a landscape, a portrait, or your pet when “click” and you have preserved the image forever photographically? No longer is it the artist’s role to record visual history as it had been for centuries. Relieved of this burden, artists now explore art for the sake of art, and in so doing have ushered in modernism, abstraction, and countless other artistic expressions – free from realism, free, free — free at last!
Then one day an artist picked up a camera and posed the question: Can I make art with this thing? That seemingly simple thought opened up one of the most argued aesthetic questions of the twentieth century. Is photography art? Well yes, the answer is yes, resoundingly yes, but not always.
Photography, like any other media such as paint, bronze, ceramics, or pen, does not create art; the artist creates the art using media. Therefore photography becomes art only when an artist (if they know it or not) is behind the lens pushing the button…click!
Click! Selections from the George Stephanopoulos Collection presents the works of twelve artists. The photographic prints in the exhibition are a sampling of over 120 works recently donated to The Hyde Collection by television journalist George Stephanopoulos and his family. Some of these photographers consider themselves artists; others, photo-journalists. Still others call themselves working photographers. There are those who consider themselves chemical engineers who take pictures to test their inventions of photographic materials. Make no mistake, however, the photographers in this exhibition are all artists of the highest order, recognized by curators, dealers, collectors, art historians, and their peers worldwide. Their work represents a wide range of artistic expression and subject matter, from political celebrities to working people, from everyday studio portraits to the dark side of street life, from landscapes to cityscapes, and from botanicals to sunsets — each image a masterwork of observation, vision, and artful control of this complex and intriguing medium.
Click! will be shown in the Hoopes Gallery at The Hyde Collection from March 21 to May 31, 2015.