Starburst. Color Photography in America
1970–1980. Edited and text by Kevin Moore. Essays by James Crump, Leo Rubinfien.
It is hard to credit today that the artistic value of color photography
was once deemed debatable and controversial, even as recently as
the 1980s.William Eggleston’s watershed exhibition at The
Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1976, generated plenty of
scorn and confusion, as spectators struggled to accept his seemingly
ordinary-looking color images of Southern life as art. Early photographs
by Stephen Shore, Helen Levitt, Joel Meyerowitz and others
received similarly hostile or ambivalent reviews. Color photography
also had opponents within photography,most notoriously in Henri
Cartier-Bresson. But as color processes both diversified and grew
more sophisticated, and further approaches to the medium developed,
the floodgates were opened wide. Starburst examines the
first great practitioners of artistic color photography in the United
States: Eggleston, Shore, Levitt,Meyerowitz, plus Joel Sternfeld,
William Christenberry, John Divola,Mitch Epstein, Jan Groover,
Robert Heinecken, Barbara Kasten, Les Krims, Richard Misrach, John
Pfahl, Leo Rubinfien, Neal Slavin, Eve Sonneman and many more.
Grounded in reviews of sources from the 1970s, and with an abundance
of images, this survey makes a thorough assessment of this
paradigm shift in the history of art photography.