Through the Post-War Looking Glass
In the middle of the 20th century, photography was winning the battle to be considered the legitimate and unique fine-art medium it is; and a post-war generation of artists, including Garry Winogrand and Robert Frank, was pressing it into the service of a new aesthetic. They eschewed slickly optimistic futurism in favor of the tumult of stumbled-upon street scenes, often depicting the seedier and/or shockingly bohemian aspects of urban life, with a special interest in the perils of rampant Western-style consumerism. Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama is among the most accomplished and prolific artists of this generation, with more than 40 books published. He's a pioneer of a style called “are, bure, boke” (grainy, blurry, out-of-focus), which combined an almost journalistic approach to difficult subject matter with a psychologically fraught and boldly graphic visual style. Split, off-kilter compositions, tilted framing, shifting focal planes, radical cropping and eerie lighting combined with the nontraditional, sometimes bizarre and unsettlingly erotic scenes and figures to create powerful images that spoke directly to the seductions and dangers facing the modern city-dweller. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.; thru July 31. $15 museum admission. (323) 857-6587,

Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays-Sundays. Starts: April 7. Continues through July 31, 2012

LA Weekly