Photo Finish: The Painting of Modern Life

COURTESY MARIAN GOODMAN GALLERY, NEW YORK / DAROS COLLECTION

INDELIBLE IMAGE: Gerhard Richter's Woman with Umbrella, 1964

When photography first emerged in the 19th century, art critics predicted a collision with painting. It turned out there was no need to squabble over cultural territory: most photographers document the world, while painters are out to interpret it. The resulting symbiotic relationship is the subject of "The Painting of Modern Life," an exhibition at London's Hayward Gallery until Dec. 30.

The show presents 100 works by 22 artists, including Richard Hamilton, Andy Warhol, Malcolm Morley and Gerhard Richter. Subjects range from Nevada's bordellos to London's tabloid media, but the strongest works treat some of recent memory's most haunting events. Richter's deliberately...

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