Featuring works by some 45 artists, Ordinary Pictures surveys a range of conceptual picture-based practices since the 1960s through the lens of the stock photograph and other forms of industrial image production. Despite its apparent throwaway status, the stock image is the primary commodity of a $1 billion global industry with far-reaching effects in the marketplace and the public sphere.
Focusing on the industry’s distinctive modes of production, distribution, and presentation, Ordinary Pictures foregrounds the work of artists who have done much to probe, mimic, and critique this overlooked aspect of our visual environment. Spanning generations and movements—from early Pop work, avant-garde film, and Pictures Generation appropriation to more recent collage, rephotography, and video work—the exhibition also considers contemporary art’s own function as an ever-expanding global image economy.
Curator: Eric Crosby, Richard Armstrong Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Carnegie Museum of Art; with Misa Jeffereis