Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Photography in the First Person: Robert Mapplethorpe, Peter Hujar, Nan Goldin and Sally Mann
by Adams, Harrison, Ph.D., Yale University, 2018, 258; 10957225
Abstract (Summary)

Photography in the First Person offers an alternative account of postmodernism in American art during the 1970s and `80s by examining the work of five photographers. Robert Mapplethorpe. Peter Hujar, Nan Goldin and Sally Mann, who are united, not by circumstance, style or acquaintance, but rather by how each one of them used aspects of their personal lives as subject matter, whether it was their friends, lovers, families or children. Collectively their art explores many of the same themes as that of the Pictures Generation, but is structurally opposite to it. Where the Pictures artists appropriated images from popular culture in order to demonstrate how identities were not given or natural, but were discursively and institutionally constructed, the practitioners of what I call photography in the first person set their sights on the ostensibly neutral viewer predicated by these same discourses and institutions—a viewer who is invariably male, white and heterosexual. Through a series of four case studies, it is shown how each of the aforementioned artists used the medium of photography and the specific contours of their personal lives through strategies of excess and indeterminacy to establish a different ethical stance towards the work of art. from one of detachment to one that forces us to consider our own bodies, desires and identifications.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Mercer, Kobena
School: Yale University
School Location: United States -- Connecticut
Source: DAI-A 79/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Art history, Womens studies, LGBTQ studies
Keywords: Gender and Sexuality, Mapplethorpe, Photography, Pictures Generation, Pornography, Postmodernism
Publication Number: 10957225
ISBN: 978-0-438-26966-8
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