TABLE OF CONTENTS

books

Michael Fried’s Why Photography Matters . . .

Jeff Wall, Diagonal Composition No. 2, 1998, transparency in light box, 20 11/16 x 25 1/4".

WHY PHOTOGRAPHY MATTERS

AS ART AS NEVER BEFORE
, BY

MICHAEL FRIED.
NEW HAVEN, CT:

YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2008.

410 PAGES. $55.

IN THE INTRODUCTION TO HIS LATEST BOOK, Michael Fried bemoans the “facile criticism” that he is “excessively preoccupied” with his own ideas. The proper test, he suggests, is not the frequency with which he has deployed notions such as beholding, theatricality, absorption, and embodiment across different moments in modern art but whether the resulting interpretations are convincing. Then he throws down a gauntlet: “I know it is too much to ask,” he writes, “but it would be useful if readers impatient with what I have done were to feel compelled to offer superior interpretations of their own.” This is an odd challenge for a famous art critic to make. Did Fried predicate his impatience with Minimalism on his capacity to produce a better sculpture than Donald

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW at the special holiday rate of $45 a year—70% off the newsstand price. You’ll receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the January 2009 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.