The photographs of James Welling, since his start among the “Pictures Generation” of the 1970s, have explored the technical reaches of the medium to create images addressing both abstraction and representation. Through his experimentations with Polaroids, photograms, black-and-white and color photography, and digital technology, he has worked with subject matter as varied as the poetry of Susan Howe, Andrew Wyeth’s paintings, architecture, and contemporary dance.
For Artists on Art, James Welling speaks on two photographs by László Moholy-Nagy.
About the video series:
LACMA’s Artists on Art videos offer insights into works in the museum’s encyclopedic collection that have inspired and informed artists working today. Looking at art through their eyes, we hear directly from artists about works that intrigue them and have fed their own creativity.
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Located on the Pacific Rim, LACMA is the largest art museum in the western United States, with a collection of nearly 140,000 objects that illuminate 6,000 years of artistic expression across the globe. Committed to showcasing a multitude of art histories, LACMA exhibits and interprets works of art from new and unexpected points of view that are informed by the region’s rich cultural heritage and diverse population. LACMA’s spirit of experimentation is reflected in its work with artists, technologists, and thought leaders as well as in its regional, national, and global partnerships to share collections and programs, create pioneering initiatives, and engage new audiences.
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for me these pictures go back to my thinking about photography in the 70s when I discovered majalis work I had just graduated from Cal arts and I was thinking a lot about and the films of Hollis Frampton and the idea of what I he would call the pair of cinematic finding things that replicated or mimicked film processes and when I discovered these to my holy prints the caramel is photogram and then the aerial view looking down I thought both of these types there are these classes of images spoke to me about a condition of an enlargement where the enlarger is projecting an image downward onto a flat easel so this this was something that struck me right away was this sensitivity to the conditions of the photographs being made coincidentally at the same time and I'm sure I must have been influenced by these I made a series of photographs of my hands so I I see this this moment when I was becoming very excited about photography this hand photograph was really very energizing for me and of course mohali comes to Chicago and then his students branch out and there's this flowering of alternative processes and types of making photographs in the 60s and 70s a sort of revisiting of the experimental adventure in photography in the 60s and 70s with a lot of the lesser-known or semi forgotten figures in photography that's what I'm most interested in