"One call out of the blue—$500,000—No strings attached" is how the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation describes its Fellowships, colloquially known as the "genius grants." This year, two photographers, Uta Barth and An-My Lê, are among the 23 MacArthur Fellows.
Uta Barth, a 54-year-old conceptual photographer from Los Angeles, California, is described as "an artist whose evocative, abstract photographs explore the nature of vision and the difference between how a human sees reality and how a camera records it. In contrast to documentary and confessional modes of photography, Barth intentionally depicts mundane or incidental objects in nondescript surroundings in order to focus attention on the fundamental act of looking and the process of perception."
The award announcements say that An-My Lê, a photography professor at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, is "an artist whose photographs of landscapes transformed by war or other forms of military activity blur the boundaries between fact and fiction and are rich with layers of meaning. A refugee from Vietnam and resident of the United States since 1975, much of Lê’s work is inspired by her own experience of war and dislocation. From black and white images of her native Vietnam taken on a return visit in 1994 to pictures of Vietnam War battle re-enactments in rural America, her photographs straddle the documentary and the conceptual, creating a neutral perspective that brings the essential ambiguity of the medium to the fore."
Congratulations to Uta and An-My!
(Thanks to MM)
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A book of interest today:
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Featured Comments from:
Rob: "Well, how about that? I was once in a class with Uta Barth, which was taught by Lewis Baltz. And that's about as close to fifteen minutes of fame as I'm ever likely to come."
Barry Myers: "Michael Kinsley (from The New Republic) on the MacArthur fellowships—from the first year they were awarded in 1981."