New York City, NY
Stephen Shore encompasses the entirety of the artist’s work of the last five decades, during which he has conducted a continual, restless interrogation of image making, from the gelatin silver prints he made as a teenager to his current engagement with digital platforms.
One of the most significant photographers of our time, Stephen Shore (American, b. 1947) has often been considered alongside other artists who rose to prominence in the 1970s by capturing the mundane aspects of American popular culture in straightforward, unglamorous images. But Shore has worked with many forms of photography, switching from cheap automatic cameras to large-format cameras in the 1970s, pioneering the use of color before returning to black and white in the 1990s, and in the 2000s taking up the opportunities of digital photography, digital printing, and social media.
The artist’s first survey in New York to include his entire career, this exhibition will both allow for a fuller understanding of Shore’s work, and demonstrate his singular vision—defined by an interest in daily life, a taste for serial and often systematic approaches, a strong intellectual underpinning, a restrained style, sly humor, and visual casualness—and uncompromising pursuit of photography’s possibilities.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.
Whether or not you go, Stephen Shore: Uncommon Places: The Complete Works, originally published in 1982, has influenced more than a generation of photographers. Shore was among the first artists to take color beyond the domain of advertising and fashion photography, and his large-format color work on the American vernacular landscape inaugurated a vital photographic tradition.
Published by Aperture in 2005, the book presents a definitive collection of the landmark series, and in the span of a decade has become a contemporary classic. Now, for this lushly produced reissue, the artist has added nearly 20 rediscovered images and a statement explaining what it means to expand a classic series. Like Robert Frank and Walker Evans before him, Shore discovered a hitherto unarticulated vision of America via highway and camera. Approaching his subjects with cool objectivity, Shore retains precise systems of gestures in composition and light through which a hotel bedroom or a building on a side street assumes both an archetypal aura and an ambiguously personal importance. An essay by critic and curator Stephan Schmidt-Wulffen and a conversation with Shore by writer Lynne Tillman examine his methodology and elucidate his roots in Pop and Conceptual art. The texts are illustrated with reproductions from Shore's earlier series "American Surfaces" and "Amarillo: Tall in Texas."