On view from February 24 through June 25, 2023, Systematic Thinking explores how photographers use their medium to organize their thoughts and the world around them—to categorize and sort both concrete objects and abstract concepts. Mel Bochner’s ordered array of diagrams and block structures, for example, sets photography into dialogue with mathematics, intimating how the latter functions simultaneously as a tool of empirical measurement and a language of symbolic representation. Meanwhile, employing a computer-driven system to pose questions about authority and authorship, Sherrie Levine digitally pixelates the work of her canonical male predecessors. Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe collage 19th- and 20th-century landscape images with their own contemporary photographs of the same sites to reflect on how historical presentations of the land can condition our experience of the environment today. Other artists question the conventions of portraiture, examining how the genre is used to construct identity or the expectation that it can capture a singular moment in time. Finally, through their experimentation with seriality and montage, Sophie Calle, Adrian Piper, and Ed Ruscha demonstrate how photobooks can serve to sort reality into categories like narrative and evidence.
The Marcia Brady Tucker Fellow in the Department of Photography
The Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman–Joan Whitney Payson Fellow in Academic Affairs and Outreach
with Judy Ditner
The Richard Benson Associate Curator of Photography and Digital Media