Monday, April 20, 2009

Pictures Generation

The Pictures Generation, 1974-1984, exhibit opens at the Met on Tuesday. The Pictures Generation was a group show at Aritsts Space in NYC in 1977 that exhibited work from Robert Longo, Jack Goldstein, Sherrie Levine and Troy Brauntuch. Other artists that were associated with the "Pictures Generation" school or movement were Barbara Kruger, Richard Prince and Cindy Sherman.

Douglas Eklund in his essay from the Pictures Generation exhibit at the Met quotes semiotician Ronald Barthes and opines about why it's important for photographers to know their history.

Barthes infamously extended this concept to question the very possibility of originality and authenticity in his 1967 manifesto "The Death of the Author," in which he stated that any text (or image), rather than emitting a fixed meaning from a singular voice, was but a tissue of quotations that were themselves references to yet other texts, and so on.

The famous last line of Barthes' essay, that "the birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the author," was a call to arms for the loosely knit group of artists working in photography, film, video, and performance that would become known as the "Pictures" generation...

Untitled Film Still #14, 1978 © Cindy Sherman

from Men In The Cities series, © Robert Longo

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