What do William Eggleston, Diane Arbus and Stephen Shore have in common? A flair for recording the most dire political times in America, according to Nottingham Contemporary’s exhibition, ‘States of America’. The exhibition examines a crucial generation of photographers that experimented with ingenious approaches to documentary photography over three decades, from the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s and 70s to the Reagan Era.
Delving into the vast collection of the Wilson Centre for Photography, curators Irene Aristizábal and Abi Spinks have framed the show through the Donald Trump’s dysfunctional presidency, with the 250 photographs by 17 artists preluding America’s current discord. They make a convincing case: images by Milton Rogovin like Lower West Side, Buffalo (1970) display the rapid disintegration of American city centres, while Bruce Davidson’s 1966 portrait of three girls in East Harlem touches on racial and social divisions.
The Wilson Centre, founded in 1988 by James Bond screenwriter Michael G Wilson, is widely known as one of the most exhaustive contemporary photography collections in the world, with a focus on political art. Many of the images in this exhibition reflect modern American today, like William Eggleston’s Las Vegas (yellow shirt guy at pinball machine) 1965-68, and Stephen Shore’s Ginger Shore, Causeway Inn, Tampa, Florida (1997), where a woman stands listless in a swimming pool.
Through these images, Aristizábal and Spinks triumph in exploring the political shifts that happened in those three decades from 1960-1990, and how they continue to have an impact on American life as we know it.
‘States of America: Photography from the Civil Rights Movement to the Reagan Era’ is on view until 26 November. For more information, visit the Nottingham Contemporary website
Nottingham NG1 2GB
Receive our daily digest of inspiration, escapism and design stories from around the world direct to your inbox
Wallpaper* gift guide: shopping with transport editor Jonathan Bell
From a spin on the Lego Ideas Orient Express to the world's most stylish e-scooter, practical meets playful in this on-the-go gift guide
By Jonathan Bell Published
Bethan Laura Wood’s kaleidoscope of colours arrives at Melbourne’s NGV
‘Kaleidoscope-o-rama’ is a new exhibition by Bethan Laura Wood (3 December 2023 to 7 April 2024), the result of of her NGV MECCA 2023 Women in Design Commission
By Rosa Bertoli Published
At Patina Maldives, sustainability and luxury blend harmoniously
Luxury resort Patina Maldives recently partnered with natural skincare brand Haeckles to craft a bespoke wellbeing range
By Mary Cleary Published