Date of this Version
University of Nebraska Art Galleries May 7 through June 2, 1968
The exhibition of contemporary photography has become within a very few years one of the most gratifying and, at the same time, challenging of the preoccupations proper to museum programming. Since AMERICAN PHOTOGRAPHY: THE SIXTIES, presented here in 1966, we have been more involved than ever with this challenge. In the present exhibition, which is the creation of Michael McLoughlin of the Department of Art and a group of gifted students, we take it up in a new way. The result is not, I think, a silver platter serving of the obvious, but instead presents a demonstration of creative thinking that is,for me at least, a challenge in itself. FIVE PHOTOGRAPHERS is a notable exhibition of extraordinary pictures. All concerned have our thanks and congratulations.
It is our intent to show the ever evolving continuum of the photographic image without deliberation of what it should be like or about. In initiating this exhibition we have sought to bring together a divergency of ideas and attitudes, relating both to the image and the nature of its fulfillment, rather than to represent any single school of thought or conceptual discourse. The ideas and concerns chronicled by the photographer are possibly the primary means, in the 20th century, of understanding our environment, ourselves, and the commitment we have invested in both. It is to this commitment on the part of the photographer that we have addressed ourselves.
Photography has a richly founded history which continually engenders new horizons of awareness and picture making. Within the construct of this exhibition are many manifestations of the photographic image. It is to the nature of the photographer's involvement with the image as the OBJECT that our considerations and responses must be directed. Whether the photographer works directly from nature or celebrates a postulate which no longer can be identified as reality, the significance and meaning of the image has expressed itself through the photographer's ability to give it form and substance.
It is fitting to recall the words of Proust, whose wisdom is yet to be fully understood in its relationship to the photograph: "This work of the artist, to seek to discern something different underneath material, experience, words, is exactly th-e reverse of the process which, during every minute that we live with our attention diverted from ourselves, is being carried on within us by pride, passion, intelligence, and also by our habits, when they hide our true impression from us by burying them under the mass of nomenclatures and practical aims which we erroneously call life. After all that art, although so complicated, is actually the only living ART. It alone expresses to others and discloses to us our own life, that life which cannot be observed and the visible manifestation of which need to be translated and often read backwards and deciphered with much effort.