Can the cryptic, strange, and disparate contents of government agency photography archives be art? Of course they can! At least when assembled by artists with the vision to think beyond the more conventional forms of art to realize that everything human beings create carries with it some kind of inherent artistic statement. The book that Larry Sultan and Mike Mandel assembled in the 1970’s, Evidence, did something like this:
All the wealth of information the photographs in Evidence provide, disrupted from their original context and placed into an intuitive visual essay about the ridiculousness of vanity and the pathetic loss of power, makes the pictures themselves essentially unknowable and inscrutable, and more strange and potent for it.
The article does a great job of explaining this. Check it out.
Is is any wonder that art is the only thing that makes any sense to me any more?
– via The Paris Review