post-internet art

15042Struth-MeasuringBarry Schwabsky at The Nation:

In his pictures of places where technological research is done, Struth seems to be implicitly refuting Bertolt Brecht’s famous criticism of objectivist photography: “Things have become so complex that a ‘reproduction of reality’ has less than ever to say about reality itself. A photo of the Krupp factory or the AEG tells us almost nothing about these institutions.” For Walter Benjamin, this implied that “photography is unable to convey anything about a power station or a cable factory other than, ‘What a beautiful world!’” At one level, of course, Brecht’s observation is a truism: There is always so much that escapes any photograph—but, I could also add, there is so much that escapes any book, or even a whole shelf of them. A full understanding of any complex social phenomenon will always be a chimera. But Struth proves that there is much that can be told about such institutions by way of a photograph—­provided that the person creating it is as much the master of his technique as those whose work he is studying. Struth’s photographs have something very different to say than “What a beautiful world!”

Viewers acquainted with his best-known images, his museum photographs of the late 1980s/early ’90s and the late ’90s/early ’00s—altogether, a supremely empathetic study of how the great painting of the past functions as a social nexus in the present, a direct comparison of art and life through art—may be surprised that the more recent pictures in “Nature & Politics” are unpeopled (with just a couple of exceptions).

more here.