Pictures generation and postmodern photography

Appropriation—the strategy of selective borrowing—is a common theme in the history of modern art.


Beginner's guide

Many of the artists now known as the “Pictures Generation” were so named mainly because of their inclusion in the 1977 exhibition “Pictures” at Artists Space in New York City.

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Muriel Hasbun, <em>Todos los santos (Volcán de Izalco, amén)</em>
Muriel Hasbun, Todos los santos (Volcán de Izalco, amén)

Superimposing Arabic calligraphy over a photograph of El Salvador's Izalco volcano, Hasbun reflects on her family's diasporic origins.

Yee I-Lann, <em>Picturing Power #6…</em>
Yee I-Lann, Picturing Power #6…

Picturing Power #6 is part of a digital photomontage series made with images sourced from a Dutch colonial archive.

Stan Douglas, <em>Every Building on 100 West Hastings</em>
Stan Douglas, Every Building on 100 West Hastings

How do we picture a shifting urban landscape constantly on the verge of disappearing?

Sally Mann, <em>Blowing Bubbles</em>
Sally Mann, Blowing Bubbles

Mann’s iconic photographic series “Immediate Family” features the artist's children, who eat, sleep, and play in an idyllic Southern landscape.

Annie Leibovitz, <em>Queen Elizabeth II</em>
Annie Leibovitz, Queen Elizabeth II

This picture was taken to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s official state visit to the United States in 2007.

Will Wilson interview about <em>The Critical Indigenous Photographic Exchange</em>
Will Wilson interview about The Critical Indigenous Photographic Exchange

An interview with Will Wilson about how his photographs engage with the work of Edward Curtis

Barbara Kruger, <em>Untitled (Your gaze hits the side of my face)</em>
Barbara Kruger, Untitled (Your gaze hits the side of my face)

Kruger’s art is characterized by a visual wit sharpened in the trenches of the advertising world.

Carrie Mae Weems, <em>Untitled (Woman Feeding Bird)</em>, from <em>The Kitchen Table Series</em>
Carrie Mae Weems, Untitled (Woman Feeding Bird), from The Kitchen Table Series

Weems sets her series around the kitchen table, a metaphor for the intimate spaces of home.

The Pictures Generation
The Pictures Generation

Through manipulation of media, these artists questioned the possibility and the significance of “originality.”

The Case for Copying
The Case for Copying

Artists don’t just imitate the world around them—they copy each other, reworking old images and revising history.

Alfredo Jaar, <em>A Logo for America</em>
Alfredo Jaar, A Logo for America

Using the language of advertising, Jaar conveys a political message about who “Americans” really are.

Cindy Sherman, <em>Untitled Film Still #21</em>
Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #21

Sherman creates a series of film stills starring herself—but there is no film.

Selected Contributors