A panorama of the career of South African photographer David Goldblatt, elucidating his artistic commitments, networks, and influence
David Goldblatt: No Ulterior Motive coincides with a major traveling retrospective of the renowned South African photographer’s work. From vintage handprints of the artist’s black-and-white photography, taken between the 1950s and the 1990s, to his post-apartheid, large-format, color work, photographs in the volume are approached thematically—under headers such as “Assembly,” “Disbelief,” “Dialogues,” and “Extraction”—to draw out the artist’s core interests in working-class people, the landscape, and the built environment. Objects from Goldblatt’s (1930–2018) personal archive are also included. In an effort to create a more inclusive dialogue around Goldblatt’s work, the catalogue features images and texts by contemporary photographers and scholars, many of whom were mentored by Goldblatt, including Zanele Muholi and Sabelo Mlangeni. Some write on Goldblatt’s photographs, while others discuss his influence on their own work. Goldblatt devoted his life to documenting his country and its people. Known for his nuanced portrayals of life under apartheid, he covered a wide range of subjects, all of them intimately connected to South African history and politics. The wide-ranging voices in this catalogue foster a broad frame of reference for his work, thus countering a frequent misunderstanding of apartheid as a situation peculiar to South Africa.
Published in association with Fundación MAPFRE, Art Institute of Chicago, and Yale University Art Gallery
Art Institute of Chicago (December 2, 2023–March 25, 2024)
MAPFRE, Madrid (May 29, 2024–September 1, 2024)
Yale University Art Gallery (February 21, 2025–June 22, 2025)
Judy Ditner is Richard Benson Associate Curator of Photography and Digital Media at the Yale University Art Gallery. Leslie M. Wilson is associate director of academic engagement and research at the Art Institute of Chicago, and Matthew S. Witkovsky is Richard and Ellen Sandor Chair and Curator of Photography and Media and vice president for strategic art initiatives, both at the Art Institute of Chicago.
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