Martha Rosler: 3 Works
I The Restoration of High Culture; II The Bowery in Two Inadequate Descriptive Systems; III In, Around, and Afterthoughts (on documentary photography)
Photographs by Martha Rosler.
In 3 Works, photographer and critic Martha Rosler braids together three classic, newly relevant pieces tracing the ways in which photography's aesthetic conventions and social practices fail or succeed in generating socially meaningful work--work that not only takes into account the political conditions within which it was produced and assumes social and political responsibility but also activates the viewer. The title three works are The Restoration of High Culture in Chile, a 1972 short fiction piece-cum-essay that examines the degrees of political anaesthesia and corruption a successful adaptation to high culture implies, The Bowery in two inadequate descriptive systems, a 1974 photo work in which contemporary urban photography's capacity to continue documentary photography's historical work is questioned, and in, around, and afterthoughts, a 1981 critical essay exploring these questions more systematically and attempting to develop criteria to define contemporary photographic activities as meaningful social practice.