Despite its apparent throwaway status, the stock image comprises the primary commodity of a billion-dollar global industry with far-reaching effects in the marketplace and the public sphere. Taking this overlooked facet of contemporary life as a point of departure, “Ordinary Pictures” explores the photographic apparatuses and commercial interests that have given rise to our generic image culture through the conceptual image-based work of some 40 artists, including John Baldessari, Steven Baldi, Sarah Charlesworth, Anne Collier, Liz Deschenes, John Divola, Aleksandra Domanovi c, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Morgan Fisher, Hollis Frampton, Jack Goldstein, Rachel Harrison, Robert Heinecken, Leslie Hewitt, Elad Lassry, Louise Lawler, Sherrie Levine, Steve McQueen, Jack Pierson, Peter Piller, Seth Price, Amanda Rossotto, Ed Ruscha, Steven Shore, Sturtevant, Mungo Thomson, Wolfgang Tillmans, Tseng Kwong Chi, Julia Wachtel and Christopher Williams. Spanning generations, movements and artistic strategies from the 1960s to the present day, this publication brings together works by artists who have probed, mimicked and critiqued this aspect of our visual environment as well as its industrial modes of production and distribution. Through the work of these artists and a series of scholarly essays, the catalogue aims to examine different operations of the generic image in culture, namely its anonymous circulation and editorial uses, its adaptability and reproducibility, its technical processes of production, its claim to copyright and artistic license and its tendency toward abstraction. Featuring a unique, coil-bound design reminiscent of stock photo catalogues and a flexidisc recording by the artist Jack Goldstein, this highly collectible book ultimately reflects on contemporary art’s own complicit function as an expanding industrial image economy.
Edited by Eric Crosby, texts by Lane Relyea and Thomas Beard.
- Ordinary Pictures
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The Whole Earth – California and the Disappearance of the Outside
Diedrich Diederichsen, Anselm Franke (Eds.)
With contributions by Sabeth Buchmann, Mercedes Bunz, Diedrich Diederichsen, Kodwo Eshun, Anselm Franke, Erich Hörl, Norman M. Klein, Maurizio Lazzarato, Flora Lysen, Eva Meyer, John Palmesino, Laurence Rickels, Bernd M. Scherer, Fred Turner
In the year 1966, a young man named Stewart Brand handed out buttons in San Francisco reading: “Why haven’t we seen a photograph of the whole Earth yet?” Two years later, the NASA photograph of the “blue planet” appeared on the cover of the Whole Earth Catalog. In creating the catalogue, frequently described as the analogue forerunner of Google, Brand had founded one of the most influential publications of recent decades. It mediated between cyberneticists and hippies, nature romantics and technology geeks, psychedelia and computer culture, and thus triggered defining impulses for the environmentalist movement and the rise of the digital network culture.
The photo of the blue planet developed a sphere of influence like almost no other image: it stands not only for ecological awareness and crisis but also for a new sense of unity and globalization. The universal picture of “One Earth” hence anticipated an image of the end of the Cold War, whose expansion into space it accompanied, and overwrote or neutralized political lines of conflict by transferring classical politics and criticism of it to other categories, such as cybernetic management or ecology.
The exhibition “The Whole Earth” is an essay composed of cultural-historical materials and artistic positions that critically address the rise of the image of “One Earth” and the ecological paradigm associated with it. The accompanying publication includes image-rich visual essays that explore key themes: “Universalism,” “Whole Systems,” “Boundless Interior,” and “Apocalypse, Babylon, Simulation,” among others. These are surrounded by critical essays that shed light onto 1960s California and the networked culture that emerged from it.
Artists: Nabil Ahmed, Ant Farm, Eleanor Antin, Martin Beck, Jordan Belson, Ashley Bickerton, Dara Birnbaum, Erik Bulatov, Angela Bulloch, Bruce Conner, Öyvind Fahlström, Robert Frank, Jack Goldstein, Nancy Holt and Robert Smithson, Lawrence Jordan, Silvia Kolbowski, Philipp Lachenmann, David Lamelas, Sharon Lockhart, Piero Manzoni, Raymond Pettibon, Adrian Piper, Robert Rauschenberg, Ira Schneider, Richard Serra, Alex Slade, Jack Smith, Josef Strau, The Center for Land Use Interpretation, The Otolith Group, Suzanne Treister, Andy Warhol, Bruce Yonemoto, et al.
Copublished with Haus der Kulturen der Welt
Design by Studio Matthias Görlich
- The Whole Earth California and the Disappearance of the Outside
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