We love typologies here at Typologica—quite obviously, considering they are our namesake. All that collecting and categorizing serves us curatorially-inclined folk well, facilitating critical connection-making on so many levels. As a scientific method, the use of typologies has existed for centuries within a tradition of exploration, classification, and analysis, but from the late 1950s when Hilla and Bernd Becher famously debuted their photographic archive of industrial structures, calling it Anonymous Sculptures: A Typology of Technical Constructions, typological methods within art have become widely appropriated and applied to all manner of people, places, and things.
Now that we are into the thick of summer, what better thing to do on break from exhibition-making than visit other wonderful exhibitions? Luckily our travels are bringing us through some good places to see shows, and we would like to share some of the best of what we come across while we are on the road.
Today’s post features an excellent exhibition at the Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College in Clinton, NY. Titled In Context: The Portrait in Contemporary Photographic Practice, the show is curated by Robert Knight and features thirteen artists who blur the lines between conceptual and documentary photography.
Martin Parr gave a great talk at the AGO last night — by turns witty, irreverent (why do photobook intro texts “always seem to mention Robert Frank, or Walker Evans, or Atget? It’s boring as fuck!”), serious, and sincere. For over 40 years, Parr has been obsessively documenting humanity’s obsessions, turning his camera on formerly overlooked aspects of modern life including consumer culture, the middle class, tourism, bad weather, the British, the bureaucratic, and the boring. In the process, he has forever changed how we look at and use photography — both to examine and understand ourselves as much as the other — generating through thousands of images an exhaustive yet strangely intimate anthropology of the absurd.
Last weekend we saw Nothing is Hidden, an exhibition of photographs by Lynne Cohen, who is the 2011 recipient of the first annual Scotiabank Photography Award. Since the 1970s, Cohen has created a remarkably cohesive body of work exploring the strange, often funny, and sometimes disturbing emotional and socio-political terrain that lies just beneath the naugahyde surface of many semi-public and institutional interiors. Entirely photographed from mid-distance with minimal intervention, Cohen’s seemingly banal observation rooms, meeting halls, classrooms, sports clubs, and military facilities (these being just five examples of the 20–30 categories she has chosen to explore) evoke an intangible and unsettling sense of presence even as they document a physical state of emptiness and conspicuous absence.