MITCH EPSTEIN Work


Galerie Thomas Zander is pleased to announce an exhibition of American work by Mitch Epstein, on view March 17- April 24. The show contains a selection from three projects where Epstein fully exploits his interest in American culture: The City (1995-98), Family Business (2000-03), and the ongoing American Power.

Epstein is a pioneer of color photography, who, along with William Eggleston and Stephen Shore, began to redefine it as an art form nearly thirty years ago. Epstein has developed a signature approach, wherein his pictures appear staged and spontaneous at the same time. They display, as critic Joanna Lehan put it, “a jaw-dropping talent for color composition,” and sabotage their own formal perfection with troubling or provocative content.

Epstein’s work investigates the politics of human intimacy and how intimacy interacts with the world at large, while also examining how corporate and governmental power is changing the landscape in which we live. His pictures from The City are uncannily prescient of the post 9/11 urban environment: images depict an increase in surveillance cameras, carry an undercurrent of violence, and investigate individual attempts to safeguard or flaunt privacy in the public realm.

Family Business is a study of the fraught life of A. William Epstein, the artist’s father. When the elder Epstein’s furniture and real estate businesses were going under in a decaying New England town, the artist began to photograph and film the demise. The result is his critically acclaimed, multimedia “novel” about the American dream gone awry – a dream that capitulated to corporate competition and family discord.

Epstein’s current work, American Power, examines energy usage and excess in the United States. These pictures were made on forays to energy sources and their environs – what he calls “energy tourism.” The images implicate, but do not always directly reference the energy source. Epstein plays with the definition of American power, probing not just corporate power but the powers of sexuality and consumption. He also reflects on the value of very large photographs.

Mitch Epstein’s photographs are collected by major institutions throughout the United States, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Among numerous books by the artist are Family Business (Steidl, 2003), which received the Kraszna-Krausz Photography Book Award; Recreation: American Photographs 1973-2005 (Steidl, 2005); and his most recent retrospective monograph, Mitch Epstein WORK (Steidl, 2006). He will have a solo exhibition at the FOAM museum in Amsterdam in spring, 2007. A selection of his pictures is currently on view at Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York (through April 7). Epstein lives in New York City.

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