Editions

  • Altamont, Suburbia, Leisure, Riots
  • Altamont, Suburbia, Leisure, Riots
  • Altamont, Suburbia, Leisure, Riots
  • Altamont, Suburbia, Leisure, Riots
  • Altamont, Suburbia, Leisure, Riots
  • Altamont, Suburbia, Leisure, Riots
  • Altamont, Suburbia, Leisure, Riots

Bill Owens

Altamont, Suburbia, Leisure, Riots

 1.450,00 (Ex VAT)
Please note VAT will be waived if the shipping destination is outside of the EU.

37,5 x 32 x 5 (Box size)
31 x 36 (Print size)
This edition contains 2 matted prints on Baryta Hahnemuehle paper and 1 book
Each print is signed and numbered and book is signed
All artworks are housed in a handmade linen box
Edition of 60
2009

Photographic works by Bill Owens have been exhibited in museums in Europe and North America and become the classic photographic description of the American suburban dream.

Over decades the artist continued his chronicles on American life with the equally strong and insightful series Altamont, Riots, and Leisure. The photographs have been taken in various suburban communities in Northern California throughout the early 1970s. In 1973 they were compiled in the classic book, Suburbia. These photos are as strange and compelling now as they were 40 years ago. His photographs belong to an American aesthetic tradition of art that explores the intersection of everyday life and theatricality. Like the paintings of Edward Hopper, the photographs of Walker Evans and Diane Arbus, and the short stories of John Cheever and Raymond Carver, Owens’ photographs find unexpected beauty and mystery within the American vernacular. This collision between normality and strangeness transforms the American landscape into a place of wonder and anxiety.

Bill Owens is among the generation of photographers, including Robert Adams, William Eggleston, Steven Shore, and Joel Sternfeld, who used the tradition of documentary photography to explore the complexities and contradictions of the American landscape. To varying degrees, they used an objective style of photography in an effort to locate a perfect tension between banality and beauty, domesticity and nature, criticism and admiration. His photographic sensibility is straightforward and direct. He approached the subject of suburbia and its inhabitants in an almost nondescript style. This neutrality is, of course, deceptive. The photographs reveal a highly subjective and complex narrative viewpoint. The pictures oscillate between irony and admiration, absurdity and sadness, and truth and fiction. Quotidian settings like the home, the yard, the club, the workplace or the vacation spot serve as backdrops in which small events are played out in front of the camera. Owens’ photographs use telling details, odd occurrences, and quiet revelations to transform these familiar scenes into small dramas.

Bill Owens’ work have shaped a generation of young artist, filmmakers, writers, and photographers. His influence is evident in a wide range of contemporary artists including filmmakers Paul Thomas Anderson, Wes Anderson, Sofia Coppola and Todd Solondz, writers A.M. Homes and Rick Moody, painters John Currin and Lisa Yuskavage, and photographers Jenny Gage, Katy Grannan, and Malerie Marder. These artists, who all came of age in the 1990s, share a distanced fascination with 1970s style, fashion, and décor. Their interest in this subject matter comes not from direct experience, but from a vast reservoir of existing images and representations. For a generation of artists, Bill Owens’ photographs define the iconography of the 1970s. The Suburbia series has become part of our cultural lexicon.

Text by Gregory Crewdson, “Bill Owens: Leisure – A Particular Kind of Strangeness”, 2005.

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