As an artist and teacher, Stephen Shore has had perhaps the most deeply felt impact on American photography of the past half-century. In 1965, Shore began documenting Andy Warhol’s factory, creating a body of work that, in 1971, was the subject of The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s first-ever single-artist show by a living photographer. Shore was 24 at the time.
Shore’s iconic images from the American Surfaces and Uncommon Places series of the 1970s brought radical treatments of color and space to seemingly banal views of American life. Those works documented working-class homes, small-town intersections, plates of food in diners, parking lots, strip malls, and cinemas. Today, as then, Shore dynamically balances this apparently casual subject matter with masterful formal rigor, giving his works a poetic tension and lending a charged beauty to what we see around us but so often overlook.
In the past decade Shore has been shooting with a digital camera and producing on-demand, short-run books with Apple’s iPhoto software. Embracing the speed and freedom of these innovations, Shore has created stunning new bodies of work through modest means and by using vernacular techniques. Featuring thirty-six images from one such recent series shot entirely in Abu Dhabi, Shore’s exhibition at the Aspen Art Museum—the first time these images have been printed or exhibited—will give audiences in this country a nuanced, street—level view of the region that’s refreshingly free from media exaggeration.
Born in 1947, Stephen Shore is the current Susan Weber Soros Professor in the Arts, Director of the Photography Program, and Chairman of the Arts Division at Bard College. Recent solo exhibitions include Stephen Shore and the New Düsseldorf Photography, NRW-Forum Düsseldorf, Germany (2010) and The Biographical Landscape, Museet for Fotokunst, Odense, Denmark, and Johannesburg Art Gallery (2009). Recent group exhibitions include Into the Sunset: Photography's Image of the West, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2009); New Topographics, George Eastman House, Rochester, New York (2009); and Reality Check: Truth and Illusion in Contemporary Photography, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2009). Shore’s work is part of permanent public collections at The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Museum of Modern Art; Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Whitney Museum of American Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Minneapolis Institute of Arts; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut; Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Australian National Gallery, Canberra; Neue Sammlung, Munich; and the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal.