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“Dispersion”

INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ARTS

Curated by Polly Staple, “Dispersion” took its title from Seth Price’s eponymous text of 2002, which discusses, among other things, the impact of digital technologies and distributed media on high culture. Accordingly, the dissemination and appropriation of images—and the good and bad infinities of contemporary digital reproduction—provided a baseline against which other motifs played out, such as consumer desire and archival memory.

In Anne Collier’s photograph Folded Madonna Poster (Steven Meisel), 2007, for example, the image-as-historical-artifact conveys both nostalgia and a fascination with the aesthetic qualities of the reproduction. Collier’s approach echoes the way that contemporary advertising and pop iconography use signs of archaic image technologies to add visual information so that image quality itself activates historical memory and generates longing. It is not surprising,

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