Making sense: contemporary LA photo artists
Art Gallery of NSW 2012

l-r Sharon Lockhart, Shannon Ebner, Allan Sekula
l-r Miles Coolidge, Shannon Ebner, Mark Wyse
Sharon Lockhart, Untitled 2007

Making sense builds on existing holdings in the Art Gallery of New South Wales collection by American artists Allan Sekula, Ed Ruscha, Bill Viola and Paul McCarthy. The contemporary art scene in Los Angeles is very rich in part due to the large number of excellent universities in the area that have strong teaching programs in photo media. Many of the artists are already involved in these educational programs, mentoring and influencing the next wave of American and international talent.

Varied and diverse in their concerns and aims, these artists have engaged with the legacy of American conceptual, minimalist and documentary photography, furthering it in interesting and unexpected ways. Developed in conjunction with private benefaction and evolving initially over a three-year period, the LA collection continues to grow.

Collectively these artists raise questions about the way we see the world, the nature of the photographic object and its power to transform perception. Many of the works share a subtle sense of irony while arguing for the continuing social significance of photography in our increasingly globalised era. Broad themes include landscape and architecture, representations of the individual and social body, contemporary politics, the relationships between word and image.

Included are Shannon Ebner (b1971), Sharon Lockhart (b1964), Anthony Hernandez (b1947), Ken Gonzalez-Day (b1964), Miles Coolidge (b1963), Catherine Opie (b1961), Uta Barth (b1958), Mark Wyse (b1970), Christina Fernandez (b1965), Judy Fiskin (b1945), and Walead Beshty (b1976).

works collection AGNSW, gifts of Geoff & Vicki Ainsworth © the artists