Andreas Gursky

303 Gallery

Did photography “ruin” painting? This question, which achieved its 19th-century crystallization in Baudelaire’s famous complaint in “The Salon of 1859,” has nagged at critical consciousness ever since the advent of the medium. Various theorists from Walter Benjamin to Rosalind Krauss have attempted to unravel the Gordian knot that links painting and photography; none has yet discovered Alexander’s sword.

In the 19th century, Romantic pictorialists like the Victorian grandes dames Julia Margaret Cameron and Lady Hawarden reveled in the camera’s power to transform real-life objects and people into gauzy painterly fantasia, as if through the agency of the most recent technology the School of Giorgione could be magically resuscitated, its thick atmosphere of reverie transferred seamlessly to the photographic print. And, in this century, Alfred Stieglitz would perfect a no-less-dreamy pictorialism,

to keep reading

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

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

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