written by Christy Lange
Phaidon Press | ISBN 9780714846620
Paperback – 160 pages
Member’s price: $45.00
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Stephen Shore's photographs of 'ordinary' America have had an extraordinary impact. He spent the 1970s crisscrossing the continent to assemble his two best known bodies of work, "American Surfaces" and "Uncommon Places". These photographs focused on the minutiae of modern American life, unveiling the exceptional beauty to be found in banality and pioneering the two most important photographic idioms of the past thirty years: the diaristic snapshot (later taken up by such artists as Nan Goldin and Wolfgang Tillmans) and the monumentalized landscape (as practiced by Thomas Struth and Andreas Gursky). Shore was also one of the first art photogaphers to work in colour, capturing the sky blues, mustard yellows and avocado greens of a nation whose chromatic enthusiasm occasionally outstripped its taste. Less well known are Shore's earlier works. While still in high school in the mid-1960s he undertook a three-year a project shooting Andy Warhol's legendary studio, The Factory, at its creative peak, with a revolving cast of characters that included the Velvet Underground and Nico, Edie Sedwick and of course Warhol himself. Soon after, inspired by the intellectually fertile late-1960s New York art scene, Shore produced a body of Conceptual work seldom seen but fully engaged with the revolutionary ideas shaping art at that time. These works are fascinating not only for their contribution to Conceptual art's radical re-thinking of the art object but also for the way they prefigured Shore's work to follow, including "American Surfaces" and "Uncommon Places". Since the 1970s Shore has continued to expand his repertoire, moving effortlessly between black and white and colour, landcape and portraiture, large format and 35 mm. In so doing, he has proven himself one of contemporary art's most vital photographers. As fellow photographer Joel Sternfeld writes in the Focus section, 'what may ultimately be at stake in his pictures is the pure condition of sight itself.'
Artist: Stephen Shore