Image: Copyright Nancy Burson, “Warhead I (Reagan 55%, Brezhnev 45%, Thatcher less than 1%, Mitterand less than 1%, Deng less than 1%),” 1982, Gelatin silver print from computer-generated negative (Edition of 15), 14 x 11 inches, sheet.
Nancy Burson’s work is included in “Camera Atomica” (curated by John O’Brian) at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) from July 8 – November 15, 2015:
Photographs have played a crucial role in shaping perceptions of nuclear weapons and nuclear energy. “Camera Atomica”—guest-curated by writer, curator, and art historian John O’Brian—is the first substantial exhibition of nuclear photography to encompass the entire postwar period from the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 to the triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi in 2011.
The election of President Ronald Reagan in 1980 accompanied an intensification of the Cold War, and artists and photographers responded in large numbers to the escalating risk of a nuclear confrontation. The politics of the Cold War also coincided with a cultural debate around photography and its claims to represent what is “true” or “real.” Much post-1980 nuclear photography reflects altered understandings of the limitations of photography and the dangers of the nuclear arms race.
Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)
317 Dundas Street West
Toronto, Ontario, M5T 1G4
For more information on the exhibition:
Blog post by:
Brian Paul Clamp, Director