Read my response to Allan Nadel's wrongheaded article about postwar American photography at the "American Thinker" website.
Featured Comment by Edward Taylor: "I liked the article and your response. I was impressed with Nadel's admission that he did not have an eye for art and couldn't tell what was good and what wasn't. More of us should admit that we all can really only tell what we like. However, all of us with an interest in art should at least make an attempt to understand what we are looking at and why it was produced. I was, as usual, impressed with the depth of your knowledge and your insight. In the '60s I was swept up in the war, and the assassinations, and the civil unrest as well as the music and the free thinking. The sixties were still a happy time for me, but the scary stuff was always on my mind. It was a time for nonconformity. Conformists seem to benefit more from society than nonconformists, both in art and life. If you can be a nonconformist and convince the establishment that you are just a cool non-threat, then you really get a boost. You and your art become a guilty pleasure.
"I personally also have a hard time understanding why some photography is considered great. I think it takes a 'perfect storm' to be recognized in photography—the right friends and admirers, marketing savvy, the right job, and of course, photographic skill and artistic vision. Often, it takes a lot of work and time as well. There is a difference between what vision actually represents the photography of a period and what photography is considered worthy of an art show. Today, there is so much photography out there that my guess would be that there is no dominant point of view."
ADDENDUM: I think it's worthwhile to add that, although I accused Allan Nadel of not being sufficiently engaged with the work of the artists he was talking about, his article itself was a strong attempt at engagement. And there's a lot to be said for that. —MJ