The Pictures Generation, 1974-1984.
Edited by Douglas Eklund.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2009. 224 pp., 100 black & white and 160 color illustrations, 11¾x9¼".

Selected as one of the Best Books of 2009 by:


Publisher's Description
This handsome book is the first comprehensive examination of the Pictures Generation, a loosely knit group of artists working in New York from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s. The overarching subject of the work of these artists was imagery itself—how pictures not only depict but also shape how we perceive the world and ourselves. The collective achievement of this group is an extremely important chapter in the history of contemporary art.

Born into an expanding media and consumer culture and educated in the strategies of Minimal and Conceptual art, the artists of the Pictures Generation, including Robert Longo, Richard Prince, David Salle, and Cindy Sherman, chose to return to representation, addressing the rhetorical, social, and psychological functions of the image across all media (photography, painting and sculpture, drawings and prints, film and video, and music and performance). While the careers of these artists are typically considered in isolation, this catalogue traces their complex interrelationships and mutual development—beginning with the emergence of a group sensibility characterized by techniques of distancing and theatricality and ending with a resurgence of painting by mostly male artists (which was contested by women artists working in media such as video, photography, and installation).

Featured artists:

Ericka Beckman
Dara Birnbaum
Barbara Bloom
Eric Bogosian
Glenn Branca
Troy Brauntuch
James Casebere
Sarah Charlesworth
Rhys Chatham
Charlie Clough
Nancy Dwyer
Jack Goldstein
Barbara Kruger
Louise Lawler
Thomas Lawson
Sherrie Levine
Robert Longo
Allan McCollum
Paul McMahon
Matt Mullican
Richard Prince
David Salle
Cindy Sherman
Laurie Simmons
Michael Smith
James Welling
Michael Zwack


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