GENERALLY, I think the art world has missed the opportunity to address the Great Recession and the amping up of income inequality and the one percent that followed. But some visual artists have made strong and eloquent statements, and one of them is longtime Los Angeles photographer Lauren Greenfield. I caught her Generation Wealth late in its hometown run at the Annenberg Space for Photography, so did not write more than an encouraging tweet or two.
But the show, apparently, has landed in New York, on The Bowery, and I’m glad a new round of viewers will have a chance to check it out.
Here’s a bit from the New York Times on the show and “the Meaning on Money”:
Few photographers have reckoned with money as consistently as Lauren Greenfield, a photojournalist and director of documentaries like the housing-bubble fable “The Queen of Versailles.” Her subjects are socialites and cosmetic surgery patients, fashion-obsessed preteens and bankrupted property flippers, child beauty queens and aging strippers. And she, too, has a gift for winning her subjects’ trust, whether at a Beverly Hills high school or on a Beijing polo field.
Yet where older photographers like Ms. Barney depict wealth with a certain chill, Ms. Greenfield prefers heat — bold color and strong moral objection. Her exhibition “Generation Wealth,” on view at the International Center of Photography on the Bowery, is a bitter, reproving tour of her 25 years exploring American and global materialism, and it’s accompanied by a glistening cinder block of a publication, filled with over 500 pages of diamonds, collagen and Birkin bags.
The Times review is mixed, and questions whether Greenfield is projecting too much distance from her subjects and her own generation (which is also mine.) A worthwhile question for any photo-documentary. But this is a titan of a show.