The Museum of Modern Art’s anticipated Stephen Shore retrospective opened this month, giving Shore enthusiasts the most complete picture yet of the career of one of America’s most important living artists. The exhibition, on view until May 28, 2018, and the accompanying catalogue will also no doubt introduce Shore to a new generation of MoMA-goers; it’s been more than a decade since Shore’s last retrospective exhibition.
MoMA is touting the show as the first to consider the arc of Shore’s entire career, from the early days when he skipped school to photograph at Andy Warhol’s factory, to his evolution from color snapshots to large-format color photography, to his recent digital work and commissions. Shore is best-known for his series American Surfaces and Uncommon Places, which he made on road trips around the United States in the 1970s and which were hugely influential as part of the movement toward color photography as an art form. But the exhibition and catalogue establish that this is only one facet of a career defined by a willingness to explore different formats, concepts and techniques. In addition to vintage and recent prints, the show will feature copies of some of the nearly 30 books Shore has published, as well as magazines, films, portfolios and other objects.
The exhibition is organized by Quentin Bajac, MoMA’s chief photography curator, and curatorial fellow Kristen Gaylord. Gaylord, David Campany and Martino Stierli provided text for the catalogue, which Bajac edited. Encyclopedic in scope, the book contains more than 400 images organized into 60 thematic chapters. “This exhibition will both establish the artist’s full oeuvre in the context of his time and argue for his singular vision and uncompromising pursuit of photography’s possibilities,” MoMA said in announcing the show. —Conor Risch
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