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It's very big and clever, but what exactly is "art photography"? In the case of Jeff Wall, it is an odd inversion—a revival of the ethos of 19th-century genre painting

By Ben Lewis   November 2005

If one can measure the importance of an artist by whether an attempt has been made on his life, then Jeff Wall is up there with Andy Warhol. In 1996, the Canadian photographer was offered the position of professor at the Düsseldorf Academy of Art—the world’s most prestigious academic photographic gig. It was from here that the legendary German photographer Bernd Becher had taught and launched a new photographic school led by Andreas Gursky, Thomas Struth and Thomas Ruff. Wall accepted the offer. His classes were oversubscribed, and some students got turned away. One was so disgruntled that he showed…

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