Largely Unsupportable Propositions

...or nonsensical ones, or faint ones, written with the objective of supplying art with a purpose after the fact, from a web page documenting the Metropolitan Museum of Art's "Pictures Generation" exhibition:

In Big Camera, Small Camera, Simmons shows how deeply photography permeated the inner life of her generation and how from the 1950s forward we would all have images coursing through our veins.

Acting as art director, artist, and viewer, he imagined his purloined images as stills from a movie in his head. He developed a repertoire of strategies—blurring, cropping, enlarging, grouping—that revealed the hallucinatory strangeness, or "social science fiction," of his seemingly natural source material.

The artist's greatest coup came in 1984, when she was granted full access to the Connecticut home of twentieth-century collectors Mr. and Mrs. Burton Tremaine.

For his MFA thesis exhibition, Welling presented examples from his series Men, along with even more provisional-looking works that floated free from any particular medium—collage seems too potent for these enigmatic presentations of excised magazine pages—and put both artist and viewer in the strange position of being understood by the image rather than vice versa.

McMahon's pastels were greeted quizzically by Conceptual artists of the previous generation, who tried to expunge systematically all traces of recognizable imagery and discrete media from their work (pastel may be seen as one of the most elite and rarefied).

The works of both men hunt back the violence that permeates our society to its source in the play of a typical 1950s American childhood.

Mullican's unbounded archiving of the self is the result of his constant testing of the boundary between objective and subjective reality; for Mullican, images have equal weight in both those worlds.

In each picture, the artist foregrounds the elements of cinematic form—from gaze and camera angle to lighting, costume, and backdrop—that trigger the stock narratives and characters from which our identities are composed.

Despite their seeming simplicity, however, the artist was playing complex games with the way that images normally include or exclude segments of the audience, and bringing to the forefront the kinds of power plays that underlie all forms of communication.

Using the camera to question photography's cherished myths of documentary veracity and transparent objectivity, Casebere virtually invented the tradition of setup photography as it is practiced today by artists such as Thomas Demand and Vik Muniz.

The caption is only one of many expressions of a desire that treats the image with the mechanistic devotion appropriate to a fetish. The obsessive manipulations, alterations, applications of words are the materialization of a reverie. But because desire comes about only in the sphere of frustration, the image remains forever at a distance.