Bertrand Goldberg

Bauhaus artist László Moholy-Nagy wrote Painting Photography Film in 1925 as a polemic to supplant painting, an individualistic art form, with the creative use of new visual media—such as photography and film—that corresponded to the globally networked and mechanically powered modern world. Moholy's book was reprinted in English in 1969, at a time when his terrific optimism had given way to widespread suspicion regarding public uses of media technology. Nevertheless, his address of painting through photography and film was revived in the Conceptual era to a remarkable degree, as the works in this section of the exhibition demonstrate with references that stretch from René Magritte and Piet Mondrian to Lorenzo Lotto and Paolo Uccello.

Such works—even those made on canvas—did not extend or replace painting so much as they created analogies for painting in a new, post-medium domain. In Giulio Paolini's Young Man Watching Lorenzo Lotto, a photographic reproduction of Lotto's portrait of a youth is to the original as Paolini is to the Renaissance master: a distanced and reflective observer. Other works that follow demonstrate similar relationships with the media of cinema—"This is not a film," Marcel Broodthaers declared of his multimedia installation The Crow and the Fox, paraphrasing Magritte—and photography.

Marcel Broodthaers. Portrait of Maria Gilissen with Tripod (Portrait de Maria Gilissen avec statif), 1967. Caldic Collectie, Wassenaar.