Lee Friedlander At WorkSeptember 10—December 11, 2005 | Kress Gallery
Organized by the Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, Ohio. Programming for this exhibition is supported in part by the Kansas Arts Commission, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. The Breidenthal-Snyder Foundation generously supports the Spencer Museum of Art venue. When I turned sixty-five I retired from everything but work. So quips Lee Friedlander, who, for the past five decades, has been inexhaustibly chronicling the American social and cultural landscape. Friedlander, one of the foremost photographers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, is known for his keen depictions of the worlds of jazz, of television, of urban landscapes and deserts, and of family. And throughout his prolific career, Friedlander has acknowledged the largely anonymous worker, making inventive pictures of the familiar, humdrum, yet overriding role of work in America. Lee Friedlander--At Work not only witnesses the radical change in the American workplace from blue collar to desktop, but also invites us to appreciate Friedlander's profound contribution to photography through one constant thread, the ubiquitous universe of work. At Work explores the saga of the American worker through six photographic series that were commissioned by museum curators, magazine editors, foundations, and businesses: Factory Valleys (1979--80) features images of heavy and light industry located in northeast Ohio and Pennsylvania; MIT (1985--86) records the dramatic shift in the technological landscape along Route 128, Boston's outer loop; Cray (1986) is the visual story of this Wisconsin-based maker of super computers; Gund (1995) depicts Cleveland's steel industry; Dreyfus (1992) is a composite portrait of that corporation's New York City trading floor; and Telemarketing (1995) scrutinizes workers based in Omaha, Nebraska, who help make this recent and explosive sales phenomenon possible.
Prior to its presentation at the Spencer, this exhibition was to be presented in three major European venues in Cologne, Amsterdam, and Paris. All works are gelatin silver prints, on loan from the artist courtesy of Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco.