Shared Intelligence at the Columbus Museum of Art

Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, Ohio.(Photo: Friscocali)

Painting and photography have had a long relationship in American art. Since its invention, photography has influenced the way we see the world as much as paintings have for centuries.

Shared Intelligence, an exhibit at the Columbus Museum of Art, explores the dynamic ways visual artists have been inspired by and used the photograph.

“Painting and photography are normally thought of as [being] in war with each other,” said Melissa Wolfe, curator of American art at CMA. “This show sort of suggests that maybe it’s more of a discussion.”

The exhibition of more than 75 paintings and photographs focuses on the work of American painters for whom the photograph has been essential to the development of their work, such as Thomas Eakins, Frederic Remington, Charles Sheeler, Georgia O’Keeffe, Norman Rockwell, Andy Warhol, and contemporary artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Chuck Close, David Hockney and Sherrie Levine.

“Both media, painting and photography, draw on each other and draw on all kinds of innovations and of conventions from each one of them to become better painting and to become more interesting photography,”  Wolfe said.

Major works by such ground-breaking photographers as Eadweard Muybridge, Alfred Stieglitz, Man Ray, Edward Weston, Walker Evans and Margaret Bourke-White will also be included.

“In the romantic notion of an artist, an artist is always inventing things out of their head,” said Jonathan Weinberg, Ph.D, who is an art historian, artist and curator.

Because of this romantic vision, photography is sometimes seen as a shortcut. But he said the artists who do photography will be the first to point out how time consuming it really is.

“It takes a lot of work to make these images even if they seem like you could do them yourself,” Weinberg said.

But in the end, the final image is what’s important, he said.

“It doesn’t matter how you make the image, it’s what you finally get in the image in the picture,” Weinberg said. “And any means to do that is fair game.”

Shared Intelligence is on view at the Columbus Museum of Art from Feb. 4 through April 24.

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  • Columbus Museum of Art (CMA)
  • Exhibit Review | Columbus Museum of Art: Exhibit focuses on painters who were inspired by photos (Columbus Dispatch)
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