Golden State

Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York
March 29 - April 27, 2017

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Marianne Boesky Gallery is pleased to present Golden State, an exhibition that explores the diversity of urban and suburban experience in California, predominantly from the 1970s through the present day. Curated by Drew Sawyer, William J. and Sarah Ross Soter Associate Curator of Photography at the Columbus Museum of Art in Ohio, the exhibition features the work of seven American photographers, whose meticulously staged and documentary style images capture distinctions of class and economy and speak to individual and communal aspirations. On view March 29 through April 27, 2017 at 507 W. 24th Street, Golden State connects to issues at the very core of today’s political tumult, through depictions of a state that has at once emerged at the forefront of the progressive movement and encapsulates the growing disparities between economic classes.

Among the artists featured in the exhibition are John Divola, Buck Ellison, Christina Fernandez, Anthony Hernandez, Catherine Opie, and Larry Sultan, all of whom have been based in California throughout their careers. While artists like Fernandez, Hernandez, and Ellison are well known and acclaimed on the West Coast, they have received less recognition nationally. Golden State offers a dynamic opportunity to introduce the work of these California photographers to East Coast audiences, and to position them within a broader artistic and socio-political dialogue.

The exhibition will also include several photographs from Dorothea Lange’s series on Japanese-American internment in 1942, which were originally censored by the U.S. government. The inclusion of these images, which feel eerily immediate and contemporary, demarcate California’s position at two important junctures in American history—first, as complicit in government-sanctioned racism and paranoia during World War II, and now in direct and forceful opposition to the same political forces.

The Lange prints are being produced in collaboration with Tim Chambers, founder of Anchor Editions, which creates limited edition archival-quality prints of images in the public domain. All of the proceeds from the sale of these prints will go to support the ACLU.

“In recent years, California has appeared to be more golden than ever. It has emerged as not only a major center for contemporary art, but also the wealthiest and most socially progressive state in the country. Yet, it continues to have the highest rates of poverty and homelessness. Continuing in the tradition of Dorothea Lange, the artists in this exhibition examine the social and economic life of California with critical and exacting eyes,” said Sawyer. “One senses in these photographs what Joan Didion once observed of her native state: ‘California is a place in which a boom mentality and a sense of Chekhovian loss meet in uneasy suspension; in which the mind is troubled by some buried but ineradicable suspicion that things better work here, because here, beneath the immense bleached sky, is where we run out of continent.’”