The New Criterion presents:
On “Stephen Shore” at the Museum of Modern Art
By James Panero
“For the current generation, no one has faced the challenge of creating a photography of itself quite like Stephen Shore. This photographer who came of age in the 1970s, and has tracked the medium’s radical evolution to the present day, is now the subject of an extensive and enthralling survey at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
Stephen Shore is a textbook photographer. Which is to say, his photographs could illustrate a textbook on the medium of photography. Born in New York in 1947, his earliest work was in the darkroom, at the far end of the photographic process, developing his family’s Hawkeye Brownie negatives when he was six. He sold his first photograph to moma when he was fourteen, and had his first survey show at the Metropolitan Museum in his early twenties. Carried by a youthful curiosity and an autodidact’s sensibility, through an extensive body of work Shore has illuminated the wondrous “how” a picture is made as much as the “what” being taken.”
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The Brooklyn Rail presents:
Rail: I can recall that in the ’70s there was an efflorescence of American scene-type imagery, which roughly correlated with the 1976 Bicentennial aura that enveloped the US at the time. Images by yourself and “Photo-Realist” painters such as Ralph Goings and Robert Bechtle tended to subjectify the American car as cultural signifier, of commodity, of mobility, in relative sculptural ensembles, et cetera, that inserted themselves into both the objective landscape and the subjective imagination of the country. In some ways this was anticipated much earlier by American cinema. Newer aspects of a specific type of American road picturesque were codified by William Jenkins and his famous exhibition, New Topographics: Photographs of a Man–Altered Landscape (1975-76) at the George Eastman House. What was your own identification with, or separation from, this ostensible movement at the time? In his introduction to the catalogue Jenkins defines the common denominator of that show as problem of style and stylistic anonymity—an alleged “absence of style.” Did you agree with his sentiment at the time about the anonymity of style? And what do you think about it now?
Shore: I think when Jenkins talks about “styleless-ness” it’s what I’m referring to as “transparency,” but do I really believe it’s styleless: No. And what I mean is this: I think there could be two kinds of style in a picture: one that feels imposed on a picture—maybe we’ll call it stylized—and the other is an expression of an artist’s temperament. Nicholas Nixon and I can take pictures that seem style-less but no one would have any problem telling them apart, because in fact they have a style. What they have is the voice of the artist. But it doesn’t feel stylized, it doesn’t feel like the subject matter has been shoved into a stylistic box. Regarding your previous reference to the concurrence of similar imagery in photorealist painting at the time, I think I was less influenced by them than we both had similar roots. For example, Walker Evans—I forget if it was Ralph Goings or Richard Estes who, I read an interview long ago, talked about the major influences on himself, and it was Walker Evans—and I would say Evans was the major influence on me too.
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STEPHEN SHORE AT 303 GALLERY
A review by D. Creahan
“For as much as Shore is invested in the image itself, these are works pulling at the threads of modern man, works interested in man’s slow but steady embedding into the fabric of the world around him. As writers argue that man has entered a new era, the anthropocene, where our varied pieces of physical evidence and impacts on the environment are entering the geological record, Shore takes a moment to examine the points of crossover, the moments when a cast-off bag or discarded cigarette begins its slow fade into the earth, and into its physical archive.”
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The New York Review of Books presents:
Stephen Shore, Seer of the Everyday
by Gideon Jacobs
“Shore has had a half-century-long preoccupation with the difference between the way we see the world when we move through it, and the way we see it in images. His hope, he has often said, is to make photographs that look “natural.” For Shore, this means an erasure of mediation, a lightening of his hand in the creation of an image. Writer Lynne Tillman called it Shore’s attempt at “willed objectivity.” Photographer Joel Sternfeld described it as Shore’s “Zen-like, awakened unconsciousness.” Shore simply says he wants his photographs to “feel like seeing.”’
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Stephen Shore | HOW TO SEE the photographer with Stephen Shore
“Whenever I find I repeat myself, I look ahead in a new direction.” — Stephen Shore Photographer Stephen Shore wants his pictures to feel as natural as speaking. In this gallery tour, Shore reflects on his six-decade long career—from his early work taking pictures in Andy Warhol’s Factory to road trips across America.
Unmade beds, Warhol’s Factory, the open road: the Museum of Modern Art hosts a retrospective of the prolific photographer.
by Lynne Tillman
“Retrospectives can be strange events for artists. Some don’t want one, fearing it might prematurely close the book on their work. At seventy, Stephen Shore is adding pages to his—Instagram and iPhone pictures. His need for discovery, novel experiences, drives his work—him, really. His concentration on a subject is intense, single-minded, like his spending three years fly-fishing. It is easier to understand the pursuit of pictures than fly-fishing, from my point of view.”
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GARAGE – VICE presents
The Five New York Exhibitions We’re Most Looking Forward To This Winter
Overlapping with Shore’s triumphant MoMA retrospective, 303 will this month present their sixth solo show by the influential photographer, whose mastery of an offbeat (and peculiarly American) aesthetic, and continued pursuit of new image-making and distribution technologies, have kept him center stage. Shot exclusively with the Hasselblad X1D, a digital camera that combines a touchscreen interface with ultra-high resolution, Shore’s new large-scale shots have an even more prosaic aesthetic than usual, focusing on street detritus to evocative effect.
January 11–February 17
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AT THE MUSEUM
Photographer Stephen Shore visits an in-progress installation of his first full career survey exhibition in New York. Chief Curator of Photography Quentin Bajac asks Shore’s opinion on finishing touches of the show. See what it takes to run a modern museum in our new documentary series, “At the Museum.”
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303 Gallery announces:
303 Gallery is pleased to announce our sixth exhibition of new work by Stephen Shore.
Always curious to investigate new forms of image-making, Shore has enthusiastically embraced and adapted to the era of digital photography. His series of print-on-demand books from the early 2000s created elliptical narratives from seemingly offhand snaps of casual events, and used the genre of travel photography to both critique and construct history. The advent of the iPhone has allowed Shore to continue his cataloguing of the everyday through his Instagram feed. In early 2017, Shore discovered a new tool: the Hasselblad X1D, a digital camera using an iPhone-like touchscreen interface, but with a resolution equal to or even greater than what he was able to achieve with his typical 8×10 view camera setup.
The photographs in his exhibition at 303 Gallery are shot exclusively with the X1D, and focus on a new kind of landscape, as found in arrangements of natural phenomena and street detritus to create distinctly happenstance harmonies. Whether capturing a boulder peeking out of a sea of rippling water or deflated balloons loitering outside an exhaust grate, Shore’s keen eye for color, composition and light reveals the strange cosmic congruity of seemingly foreign and unrelated elements. In Shore’s New York, a stray branch floating on a sidewalk under a wall of navy blue bricks seems to suggest an entirely hidden world of phenomena; while a cigarette, a straw, and a leaf balanced on untended asphalt has the expressionist power of an early Kandinsky. Discovering his new camera’s ability to bring these intimate details into macro focus and print them into sharp, large-scale photographs, the intuitive and resolute constancy of Shore’s search for pictorial possibilities is obvious. An experimenter with a firm grasp of formality, Shore has produced work over the past fifty years that is a benchmark of photography’s potential.
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Lens Culture presents:
Artifacts from the Now:
Stephen Shore’s MoMA Retrospective
Exhibition review by Lev Feigin
“For American photography, one of the most important explorers of the ordinary came of age during this artistic era: Stephen Shore. His commanding ten-room retrospective, now on view at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, presents hundreds of images of the commonplace captured by the photographer over the course of more than fifty years. The survey follows the chronological trajectory of Shore’s career, beginning with his apprenticeship at Warhol’s Factory in the mid-60s and ending with his recent trips to Ukraine and Israel. Each room is dedicated to a different creative phase of the artist, who considers a photograph “a problem to be solved.”
Curated by MoMA’s Quentin Bajac, the exhibition grounds Shore’s work in the artistic movements of the milieu that impacted the young photographer while he worked at the Factory. In the first rooms, the survey presents over thirty of Shore’s black and whites of the Factory’s habitués, from Lou Reed and Nico to Marcel Duchamp, as well as Shore’s experimental serial images from the late ’60s, which take a sledgehammer to the conventions of art photography.”
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