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Biographical Landscape: The Photography of Stephen Shore, 1969-1979 at Haggerty Museum
Stephen Shore, Second Street, Ashland, Wisconsin, July 9, 1973. Digital C-print 25 x 29 in. ©Stephen Shore, Courtesy of the artist and Aperture Foundation, Inc.

MILWAUKEE, WI.- The Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University will host Biographical Landscape: The Photography of Stephen Shore, 1969–1979, featuring over 100 prints, opening with a 6 p.m. lecture by Stephen Shore in Marquette University’s Cudahy Hall room 001.

Biographical Landscape offers an opportunity to revisit the seminal works of Stephen Shore (b. 1947), one of the most prominent and influential American photographers to emerge in the last half-century. As the only color photographer represented in the George Eastman House’s landmark 1976 exhibition New Topographics, it is well-known that Shore’s pioneering large-format photographs of cities across America have had a strong influence on contemporary practitioners, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Thomas Struth, Andreas Gursky, Joel Sternfeld, and Jeff Wall, among them.

This exhibition emphasizes Stephen Shore’s methodical exploration of landscapes, which bears paral-lels to conceptual art. Shore’s work in Warhol’s Factory from 1965 to 1967 sensitized him to pop culture, the aesthetic qualities of amateur photography, and the Readymade. Focusing on Uncommon Places—Shore’s essential series on the American vernacular landscape produced between 1973 and 1982—Biographical Landscape provides an opportunity to reexamine this work in the context of his broader oeuvre, unearthing the conceptual underpinnings that inform his work throughout.

Biographical Landscape is arranged chronologically, beginning with Stephen Shore’s first trip across America that began July 3, 1973. The first section presents early images from 1973, in combination with Stephen Shore’s original 1972 exhibition, entitled American Surfaces, which led up to his work on the series Uncommon Places. In 1973, Shore switched from the 35 mm camera he used for American Surfaces to a large-format camera. This early work focuses on the Pop art dimension of Shore’s work and includes part of his postcard collection of Amarillo, Texas, and a collection of found photographs featured in All the Meat You Can Eat—an exhibition curated by Shore in 1972.

The second section of Uncommon Places represents the period from 1974 until 1976 where Shore developed a formal approach to reality, focusing on linear perspective. In this phase, the titles of the photographs and their centralized composition emphasize the biographical nature of these landscapes. The focal point of these images precisely defines Stephen Shore’s position in the landscape he presents.

Starting in 1976, Shore approaches the landscape with a different set of motives. This third period of Uncommon Places is marked by a denial of any focal point or single point of perspective. In doing so, Shore alludes to the reality beyond the photograph, extending the image past the picture frame.

In 1980, Shore began focusing on a series of pure landscapes that are distinctly different in subject matter than that of Uncommon Places. Conceptually, they radically further the denial of perspective Shore so deftly articulates in his previous body of work.

Taken as a whole, Stephen Shore’s pictures provide a thorough map of what amounts to a lifetime of movements in space and time. His photography is presented here as a diary, which reveals his identity.

If understood as a ―biographical landscape‖ Stephen Shore’s work contributes to an extended under-standing of the photographic medium as a social barometer.

The purpose of Aperture Foundation, a non-profit organization, is to advance photography in all its forms and to foster the exchange of ideas among audiences worldwide. Curated by Stephan Schmidt-Wulffen, Aperture has organized this traveling exhibition and produced the accompanying publication.

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