Trouble with the Index

California Museum of Photography

February 1 - June 21

Opening Reception - Saturday, February 1, 2014, 6pm - 9pm



The truth of photographs has always been conflicted. Light hits sensitized paper to produce a picture of the world, capturing a moment in time. This was here, every photograph asserts. But the picture is flat and static, bound by edges and defined by depth of field, reproducible and variable in size: an artificial organization of a world that is spatial and temporal. Nevertheless, this was here. Since photography was invented, it has carried with it this elemental condition of “indexicality.” A photograph must exhibit some element of proof, some trace of reality, to be a photograph.

 

Many artists using photography today are grappling with this complicated state of photographic truth in ways that confront the typical expectations we may have of photographs. It seems that photographs alone can no longer secure their truth claim simply by accurately depicting the world in two dimensions. Through additional maneuvers artists privilege the index over pictorialism, pushing their resulting pictures even to complete abstraction. The activity of the artist is registered loudly in each work; This was here is now I was here.


Trouble with the Index features works by Walead Beshty, Matthew Brandt, John Divola, Victoria Fu, Farrah Karapetian, Heather Rasmussen, James Welling, Jennifer West, and Mario Ybarra, Jr.


Trouble with the Index is organized by the California Museum of Photography at UCR ARTSblock and is curated by CMP Curator of Exhibitions Joanna Szupinska-Myers.



image: Victoria Fu, Untitled (photogram), 2013 (detail). Courtesy of the artist and Emerson Dorsch




Image Galleries


  • Walead Beshty

    FedEx® Medium Kraft Box ©2004 FEDEX 155143 REV 10/04 BP, Standard Overnight, Los Angeles-Riverside trk#797734690530, January 27-28, 2014, 2014-

    Installation view, photo by Nikolay Maslov




  • Matthew Brandt

    Blacktail Lake WY 3, 2013

    Courtesy of the artist and M+B Gallery




  • John Divola

    Zuma #5, 1977

    Courtesy of the artist and Gallery Luisotti




  • Victoria Fu

    Untitled (photogram), 2013

    Courtesy of the artist and Emerson Dorsch




  • Farrah Karapetian

    Slip 5, 2013

    Courtesy of the artist




  • Heather Rasmussen

    Untitled #5 (After the fire), 2012

    Courtesy of the artist




  • Installation view with work by James Welling
    Photo by Nikolay Maslov




  • Jennifer West

    Spiral of Time Documentary Filmstrip 1, 2013

    Courtesy of the artist and Marc Foxx, Los Angeles




  • Mario Ybarra, Jr.

    Ammo Bunker, 2009

    Collection of the Kadist Art Foundation
    Installation view, photo by Nikolay Maslov




  • Installation view, Trouble with the Index, California Museum of Photography, February 1-June 21, 2014
    Photo by Nikolay Maslov




  • Installation view with works by (from left to right) Matthew Brandt, Walead Beshty, James Welling, and Victoria Fu, Trouble with the Index, California Museum of Photography, February 1-June 21, 2014
    Photo by Nikolay Maslov, courtesy of California Museum of Photography at UCR ARTSblock, Riverside




  • Installation view with works by (from left to right) Jennifer West, Walead Beshty, and Matthew Brandt, Trouble with the Index, California Museum of Photography, February 1-June 21, 2014
    Photo by Nikolay Maslov, courtesy of California Museum of Photography at UCR ARTSblock, Riverside




  • Installation view with works by (from left to right) Matthew Brandt, Walead Beshty, and James Welling, Trouble with the Index, California Museum of Photography, February 1-June 21, 2014
    Photo by Nikolay Maslov, courtesy of California Museum of Photography at UCR ARTSblock, Riverside




  • Installation view with work by James Welling, Trouble with the Index, California Museum of Photography, February 1-June 21, 2014
    Photo by Nikolay Maslov, courtesy of California Museum of Photography at UCR ARTSblock, Riverside




  • Installation view with works by (from left to right) Victoria Fu, Walead Beshty, John Divola, and Farrah Karapetian, Trouble with the Index, California Museum of Photography, February 1-June 21, 2014
    Photo by Nikolay Maslov, courtesy of California Museum of Photography at UCR ARTSblock, Riverside




  • Installation view with work by Victoria Fu, Trouble with the Index, California Museum of Photography, February 1-June 21, 2014
    Photo by Nikolay Maslov, courtesy of California Museum of Photography at UCR ARTSblock, Riverside




  • Installation view with works by John Divola and Farrah Karapetian, Trouble with the Index, California Museum of Photography, February 1-June 21, 2014
    Photo by Nikolay Maslov, courtesy of California Museum of Photography at UCR ARTSblock, Riverside




  • Installation view with works by (from left to right) James Welling, Walead Beshty, and Victoria Fu, Trouble with the Index, California Museum of Photography, February 1-June 21, 2014
    Photo by Nikolay Maslov, courtesy of California Museum of Photography at UCR ARTSblock, Riverside




Events in Focus

Film

The Last of the Unjust

Screening - Friday, September 26, 2014, 7pm
Screening - Saturday, September 27, 2014, 7pm


Performance

SHOW-IN 2014, a project by Brianna Skellie and Margit Galanter

Friday, October 3, 2014, 11am - 7pm
Saturday, October 4, 2014, 10am - 5pm
Sunday, October 5, 2014, 11am - 1pm

Long weekend of dance, collaboration, sharing, and material development