“The Genius of the System” concerns the vernacular tradition in American photography. It proposes that regional photographers in the twentieth century, far outside the discussions occurring in major cities, were experimenting with the medium in often radical ways. Many of these photographers were little documented–we may not even know their names–and we can have little idea of what they were thinking. Did they comprise a hidden avant-garde? Or was photography itself the disruptive force?
Luc Sante’s books include Low Life, Evidence, The Factory of Facts, Kill All Your Darlings and The Other Paris. He began writing for the New York Review of Books in 1981 and has contributed to hundreds of periodicals over the years. His honors include a Whiting Writers Award, an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Grammy (for album notes), an Infinity Award for Writing from the International Center of Photography, and Guggenheim and Cullman Fellowships. He teaches writing and the history of photography at Bard College.
This event is sponsored by the Art Department and generously co-sponsored by the Program in American Studies, the Program in Cinema Studies, the Department of English, and the Center for Arts and Humanities.