Exhibition: 25 Jan – 31 Mar 2018
Edwynn Houk Gallery
745 Fifth Avenue
NY 10151 New York
Edwynn Houk Gallery is pleased to present Stephen Shore: Uncommon Places Vintage Prints, a selection of vintage works from the artist’s landmark series. The exhibition will be on view at the gallery’s New York location from 25 January to 31 March 2018.
Stephen Shore (American, b. 1947) is a pioneer of color and vernacular photography. With a small number of contemporaries, he championed the elevation of color photography as art and redefined the documentary tradition in American photography. Shore’s vision of the ordinary world in full color is now so pervasive that its monumental influences are often taken for granted as inherent properties of photography. In particular, Andreas Gursky and Thomas Struth have acknowledged his work as inspiration.
First published as a monograph in 1982, the images in Uncommon Places articulate a vision of the United States unlike any preceding artistic statement. At the project’s start in 1973, Shore had just completed his first cross-country road trip and major inquiry into the contemporary American landscape. Influenced by Pop and Conceptual concepts he encountered at Andy Warhol’s studio The Factory, American Surfaces (1972) focused on completely ordinary scenes such as highway gas stations, motel beds, and diner meals and used a language hitherto unexplored in art photography: color.
Similarly, Uncommon Places presents the language of modern life as quintessentially vernacular and colorful, yet this series achieved something wholly different from the artist’s earlier initiative. Investigations into formal structure form the beating heartbeat of Uncommon Places, the series that Ben Crair writes “is the moment at which Shore passed from under the house of Warhol and into the house of Walker Evans.” The large-format camera he used for this series yielded prints saturated with astonishingly acute details, communicating a banquet of visual information to the viewer in mere seconds. These works were crucial influences for a number of artists, including those in the Dusseldorf School of Photography, and their significance in the field of contemporary photography is nearly impossible to overstate.
This exhibition is a rare presentation of vintage prints presented in their original format and materials. Many of these images were first exhibited to the public in a solo exhibition of Shore’s work at the Museum of Modern Art in 1976.
Shore began his career at a young age. While he was 14, the Museum of Modern Art acquired his prints under the leadership of Edward Steichen. In 1971, he earned the distinction of becoming the first living photographer since Alfred Stieglitz to receive a solo exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. More than 25 books have been published of his photographs, including Uncommon Places: The Complete Works; American Surfaces; and Stephen Shore, published by the Museum of Modern Art to accompany the artist’s major retrospective through May 2018. Exhibitions of his work have been hosted at the Art Institute of Chicago, IL; International Center of Photography, NY; Kunsthalle, Dusseldorf; and Hammer Museum, CA. His work is held in major collections, including at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. The artist lives in Tivoli, New York.