Tyler Green
Art-focused Journalism by Tyler Green

Tyler Green Modern Art Notes

In Modern Painters, truth vs. fact

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In my November column for Modern Painters magazine, I noticed that artists are increasingly taking advantage of opportunities traditionally used by journalists. Conceptualist Emily Jacir uses “60 Minutes”-style techniques expose practices at international hot-spots. Painter Steve Mumford embeds with American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. I was curious about how much the artists themselves thought about how closely they flirt with journalism, with the relationship between fact and truth. One of the artists I talked with was photographer Zoe Strauss, who recently visited the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill:

For Strauss, a photographer who will be the subject of a retrospective at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in early 2012, the Gulf oil spill was particularly well-suited for her modus operandi: Telling a personal story through a series of color photographs, pictures taken over a period of many months, even years.  As soon as Strauss realized that the spill was a long-term story and event, she worked with United States Artists, a grant-making, artist-advocacy non-profit organization, to raise $5,000 to make several trips to the region. Like Mumford, she took advantage of resources – boats, planes and so on – made available primarily for journalists.

But there, Mumford and Strauss both say, the similarity between artist and journalist ends…

Here’s this month’s Modern Painters table of contents. Subscribe here. Or subscribe to the multi-platform (iPhone! iPad!) digital edition for under $20.

Related: My illustrated Q&A with Zoe Strauss: Part one, part two.

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  1. Erwin says:

    The British used to have (still have?) official “war” artists, Peter Howson is the most recent example I believe.

  2. […] November in my Modern Painters column, I looked at the relationship some artists have with journalism. Among the artists I considered was Steve Mumford. This blog post + comments at Yankee magazine take […]

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