Hand over fist: a chronicle of Cold War photography

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Group Material’s Timeline: The Chronicle of US Invention in Latin and Central America (1984) at P.S.1’s Center for Contemporary Art explored the framing devices of installation art and photography in tandem, as a means of reconfiguring the distribution of the sensible at the height of the Cold War. In response to escalating crisis (including continuous Central Intelligence Agency operations being carried out in Nicaragua and El Salvador), this activist project employed postmodern strategies such as appropriation, pastiche and a resistance to conclusiveness in order to suggest provocative and unexpected dialogues between disparate artworks and artefacts across time and geopolitical difference. Artists ranging from Richard Prince and Barbara Kruger to John Heartfield, Tina Modotti and Arellano Bolivar, among others, come together as signs of political and aesthetic conflict, as networks of visual culture that complicate dominant narratives of spatial and temporal reality during the Cold War era. Closer analysis of such works reveals historical ruptures alongside continuities, relayed by official government policy, mass media and the art world more broadly. By excavating a long-standing history of conflict, Timeline addresses the stakes of the ownership of meaning itself in the mid-1980s, with implications regarding art production and politics for generations to come.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)182-194
Number of pages13
JournalVisual Studies
Volume30
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 4 2015

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photography
cold war
CIA (Central Intelligence Agency)
art production
art
contemporary art
El Salvador
Central America
Nicaragua
invention
mass media
government policy
artist
Latin America
artifact
aesthetics
continuity
dialogue
narrative
politics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts

Cite this

Hand over fist : a chronicle of Cold War photography. / Diack, Heather.

In: Visual Studies, Vol. 30, No. 2, 04.05.2015, p. 182-194.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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