Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

ISMS: A Guide to Movements in Art

This guide was created for the use of the Eskenazi Museum Docents. However, anyone is free to use it!

About this Page

This page focuses on different types (or isms) in photography.

Photographs from the Eskenazi Museum of Art

Two blurry photos of the same man

prints
All the Boys
Artist: Carrie Mae Weems

Contemporary, 2016–2017
Color photolithograph on paper
Image (each): 20 1/2 × 15 5/8 in. (52.1 × 39.7 cm)
Sheet: 27 1/2 × 38 3/4 in. (69.9 × 98.4 cm)
Framed: 33 1/8 × 44 1/8 × 1 1/2 in. (84.1 × 112.1 × 3.8 cm)

Museum purchase with funds from Burton and Suzanne Borgelt in honor of Linda Watson, Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University.

Carrie Mae Weems is one of the country’s most influential African American artists. For more than thirty years, she has created images that address issues of family, race, gender, cultural identity, and power in contemporary society. This print—the first work by Weems to enter our collection—shows a blurry, anonymous male figure in a hoodie from both a frontal and side view, like a nocturnal mugshot seen through a thermal-imaging camera. The work relates to Weems’s 2016 multi-media installation of the same title about police shootings of unarmed black men in the United States. In this image, the haunting apparition serves as a poignant reminder of these victims—whom the artist calls the “usual suspects.”

black and white photo of an older woman's face and torso

photographs
Louise Nevelson
Artist: Robert Mapplethorpe

Contemporary, 1986
Gelatin silver print
Image: 15 1/4 × 15 3/8 in. (38.7 × 39.1 cm)
Sheet: 19 7/8 × 15 7/8 in. (50.5 × 40.3 cm)
Framed: 25 1/2 × 24 1/2 × 1 3/4 in. (64.8 × 62.2 × 4.4 cm)

Museum Purchase with funds from the Estate of Herman B Wells via the Joseph Granville and Anna Bernice Wells Memorial Fund, Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University

Robert Mapplethorpe is perhaps best known for his celebrations of the male body and images of flowers. However, he also created some stunning portraits, such as this one of American sculptor Louise Nevelson. While the photograph features Mapplethorpe’s exquisite manipulation of light and tones, including a “halo” from a back-lit fur hat, it also captures Nevelson’s strong personality. Although he produced a more flattering portrait during the same session, Mapplethorpe must have felt that this grotesque, low-angle variation would appeal to his sitter and personally dedicated it to her. The first work by Mapplethorpe to enter our collection, it contributes to the museum’s long-established strength in collecting images of artists.

 

Color photo of two young girls

photographs
Darine 7, Dania 8, Beirut, Lebanon, 2014
L'Enfant-femme
Artist: Rania Matar

Contemporary, 2014
Archival inkjet print
Image: 24 × 19 1/4 in. (61 × 48.9 cm)
Sheet: 30 × 25 1/4 in. (76.2 × 64.1 cm)
Framed: 30 7/8 × 26 1/8 × 1 1/2 in. (78.4 × 66.4 × 3.8 cm)

Museum purchase with funds from Burton and Suzanne Borgelt in honor of Linda Watson, Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University.

As a woman of Middle Eastern descent working in both America and Lebanon, Rania Matar often explores issues of gender and culture. When her daughter turned twelve, she became particularly interested in preteens on the cusp of womanhood. While the sisters in this photograph (our first work by the artist) suggest the universality of little girls dressing up, their differing attitudes, color choices, and the fact that only one is wearing a headscarf (khimar), which is not mandatory, reflects their individuality. As Rania Matar says, “It was also important for me to show other aspects of the headscarf. People in the West often think of it as oppression and as a way to hide the women, but here one can see the fashion aspect of it.”

 

black and white photo of two male oil workers

photographs
Workers Place a New Wellhead, Oil Well, Kuwait
Artist: Sebastião Salgado

Contemporary, 1991
Gelatin silver print
Image: 11 3/4 × 17 3/8 in. (29.8 × 44.1 cm)
Sheet: 15 3/4 × 19 5/8 in. (40 × 49.8 cm)

Gift of Dr. Jane Fortune, Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University

When American forces pushed the Iraqi Army out of Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm, Saddam Hussein undertook a “scorched earth” policy burning about seven hundred oil wells, thus creating one of the worst environmental disasters in history. Sebastião Salgado was quickly on the scene to document the brave men who were fighting these dangerous fires. Our first works by Salgado, these photographs show men covered in black oil, resembling both heroic bronze statues and souls emerging from hell. Although the situation was also hazardous for photographers and journalists, Salgado warned, “We must remember that in the brutality of battle another such apocalypse is always just around the corner.”

black and white photo of a young girl in a white dress with her arms criss-crossed in front of her

photographs
Nancy, Danville, Virginia
Artist: Emmet Gowin

Contemporary, 1969
Gelatin silver print
Image: 5 1/2 × 7 1/4 in. (14 × 18.4 cm)
Sheet: 8 × 10 in. (20.3 × 25.4 cm)
City/State/Area: Danville, Virginia
(not assigned):

Museum purchase with funds from Burton and Suzanne Borgelt in honor of Linda Watson, Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University.

By combining a clean, modernist approach to shooting and printing with a knack for seeing the unusual in the most ordinary situations, Emmet Gowin captures a distinctly Southern aesthetic that is mysterious and romantic, yet honest and natural. This image of Edith’s niece is part of Gowin’s study of her close extended family in Danville, Virginia. While Nancy’s contorted gesture and placid expression reveal the awkward innocence of a young girl, the eggs in her hands hint at the cycle of life and her reproductive future as a woman. The dark, vegetative background and Nancy’s virginal, white shift add to the fairytale-like symbolism of this work.

black and white photo of a cactus

photographs
Saguaro Diptych:5 16-1
Artist: Mark Klett

Contemporary, 2016
Photogravure on paper
Image: 15 7/16 × 12 in. (39.2 × 30.5 cm)
Sheet: 16 7/16 × 13 in. (41.8 × 33 cm)
Mount: 24 × 20 in. (61 × 50.8 cm)

Museum purchase with funds from the Clarence W. and Mildred Long Art Purchase Fund, Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University

Mark Klett gained notoriety in the 1980s for his rephotographic survey project that documented changes to the western landscapes first shot by nineteenth-century photographers. In this diptych (our first work by Klett in the collection), Klett continues his fascination with the American Southwest. Using photogravure, crinkled paper, and dual panes associated with old stereoscopic views, he gives the work a patina of history, while emphasizing a modern formalism. Although devoid of people, the humorous gestures of the cacti’s “arms” suggest a humanlike presence. However, the fate of such saguaros—which can take a century to grow this tall—is no laughing matter due to the threat of climate change and urbanization in the Sonoran Desert.

black and white photo of a cactus

photographs
Saguaro Diptych:5 16-4
Artist: Mark Klett

Contemporary, 2016
Photogravure on paper
Image: 15 7/16 × 11 15/16 in. (39.2 × 30.3 cm)
Sheet: 16 7/16 × 13 in. (41.8 × 33 cm)
Mount: 24 × 20 in. (61 × 50.8 cm)

Museum purchase with funds from the Clarence W. and Mildred Long Art Purchase Fund, Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University

Mark Klett gained notoriety in the 1980s for his rephotographic survey project that documented changes to the western landscapes first shot by nineteenth-century photographers. In this diptych (our first work by Klett in the collection), Klett continues his fascination with the American Southwest. Using photogravure, crinkled paper, and dual panes associated with old stereoscopic views, he gives the work a patina of history, while emphasizing a modern formalism. Although devoid of people, the humorous gestures of the cacti’s “arms” suggest a humanlike presence. However, the fate of such saguaros—which can take a century to grow this tall—is no laughing matter due to the threat of climate change and urbanization in the Sonoran Desert.

black and white photo of tree trunks

photographs
Mozambique
Artist: Graciela Iturbide

Contemporary, 2012
Photogravure on paper
Image: 15 15/16 × 15 15/16 in. (40.5 × 40.5 cm)
Plate: 15 15/16 × 15 15/16 in. (40.5 × 40.5 cm)
Sheet (Edges are uneven): 24 5/8 × 22 1/4 in. (62.5 × 56.5 cm)

Museum purchase with funds from the Clarence W. and Mildred Long Art Purchase Fund, Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University

Widely considered one of the most influential Mexican photographers of the twentieth century, Graciela Iturbide captures intimate photographs of daily life in her homeland, as well as in places like India, Italy, and Africa. In 2006, Iturbide traveled to Mozambique, where she spent twelve days photographing communities affected by the AIDS crisis. She recorded the interconnectivity of the country’s people, landscapes, and objects (like this fishing line on a baobab tree, the first work by Iturbide in our collection). Although primarily utilitarian, the wrapping may also be a way of connecting to the spirits, according to a contemporary Mozambican photographer.