This lecture by Art Historian Joshua Shannon aims to recover the revealing strangeness of photorealist painting, a movement largely ignored by scholars.
Drawn from Shannon's current book project—about art’s preoccupation with fact around 1968—the talk focuses especially on works by the California painter Robert Bechtle. It asks the paintings to do historical and theoretical work, to teach us especially about the functions of photography in the everyday experience of capitalist modernity after World War II. In pursuit of these aims, the talk lingers in particular on photorealism’s account of modern surfaces, as well as its interest in the odd pyscho-social phenomenon of posing. The lecture will conclude by proposing a new understanding of the antihumanism of American art in the 1960s.