Phaidon publishes the first monograph to survey photographer Catherine Opie
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Phaidon publishes the first monograph to survey photographer Catherine Opie
Catherine Opie. Essays by Hilton Als, Elizabeth A. T. Smith, Douglas Fogle, Helen Molesworth, and Catherine Opie in conversation with CharlotteCotton. Phaidon. Robert Blanchon, 1996 (left), Collin, 2008 (right), pages 62-63.

NEW YORK, NY.- Long awaited, the first survey of the work of one of America's foremost contemporary fine art photographers. For almost 40 years, Catherine Opie has been documenting with psychological acuity the cultural and geographic identity of contemporary America. This unique artist monograph presents a compelling visual narrative of Opie's work since the early 1980s, pairing images across bodies of work to form a full picture of her artistic vision.

Catherine Opie was given her first camera – a Kodak Instamatic – as a gift at the age of nine, after writing her school report on the 20th century photographer Lewis Hine and his portraits of child labourers.

It was an unusual topic for an Ohio schoolgirl in 1970, though an entirely apt choice for the future photographer and fine artist. Today, Opie is one of America's foremost contemporary fine art photographers, famous for documenting the cultural and geographic identity of contemporary America with psychological acuity, candour and moral sensitivity.

Opie has captured American life from its very center, right through to its fringe communities, shooting everyone from high-school football players through to leather-bar regulars; domestic lesbian households to Los Angeles freeways; ice-fishing villages in Minnesota through to memorials to slain gang members on the streets of LA. Avid gallery goers will recognise the faces of a few other fine artists in these pages; Opie has shot John Baldessari, David Hockney and Lawrence Weiner, among others.

With more than 300 beautiful illustrations and made in close collaboration with Opie, the book marks a turning point in the consideration of this artist's work to date. Two limited edition prints will be released in conjunction with the book's publication on Artspace. Four newly commissioned essays by prominent writers and an expansive, poignant interview with the artist offer fresh perspectives on her oeuvre.


• Hilton Als is a New York-based writer and theater critic.

• Charlotte Cotton is an independent curator and author of several books on photography including The Photograph as Contemporary Art.

• Douglas Fogle is an independent curator based in Los Angeles.

• Helen Molesworth is a curator and writer.

• Elizabeth A. T. Smith is executive director of the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation.

Catherine Opie is represented by Regen Projects, Los Angeles; Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong; and Thomas Dane Gallery, London

“Opie’s particular gifts, or at least some of them, have to do with waiting for the ‘decisive moment,’ when artifice meets truth. None of us tells the truth about ourselves all the time. We must dress the truth up in order to make the reality of being bearable. But we can’t dress up the soul. Sometimes the soul is hopeful or battered or a combination of both, and if you look closely enough, you can see it radiating out of the eyes of Opie’s subjects.” - Hilton Als, critic, author and New Yorker contributor, in Catherine Opie

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(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez
Writer: Ofelia Zurbia Betancourt

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