June 19–August 30, 2019
One of the most important and influential photographers of the last half-century, Stephen Shore has produced an expansive body of work that has to a significant degree shaped our vision of the American experience from the 1960s to today. In 1971, at age twenty-four, he was the first living photographer in forty years to receive a solo exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and he was a key figure in the recognition of color photography as an artistic medium beginning in the 1970s. Monika Sprüth and Philomene Magers are pleased to announce the first solo presentation of Shore’s work in Los Angeles since 2005, when his major traveling exhibition The Biographical Landscape opened at the Hammer Museum. On view at Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles will be three of the artist’s photographic series spanning the years 1969 to the present, each of which reveal his ability to project an approachable, casual aesthetic that is infused nonetheless with subtlety, complexity, and a quiet, affecting power.
Throughout his career, Shore has used a variety of cameras and has always been open to new technologies. The acquisition in 2017 of the revolutionary Hasselblad X1D camera has enabled the artist to make images which match and even surpass the resolution of more traditional tools. Shore’s experimentations with this new apparatus have resulted in the series Details (2017–ongoing), which serves as the cornerstone of the present exhibition. Shot in locations where the artist regularly spends time, including New York City, upstate New York, Montana and London, these photographs highlight his remarkable eye for textural contrasts and poignant compositions, even when picturing the most mundane of subjects. Natural and human-made elements come into intimate contact with one another across the series, as in bird’s eye scenes of scattered leaves on asphalt sharing space with Dunkin’ Donuts bags, cigarette butts, and bottle tops; or a frontal view of ancient murals carved onto mottled, sediment-laden rock. In these pictures, Shore manages to hold in careful balance the sense of a photograph as a transparent index of the world and, at the same time, an artful combination of light, line and color.