South of Zefat, Israel, 2010, by Stephen Shore
South of Zefat, Israel, 2010, by Stephen Shore

Stephen Shore goes global

A new exhibition shows the photographer's shots from Israel, Abu Dhabi and the Ukraine alongside his US work

We might think of Stephen Shore as a quintessentially American photographer, capturing his homeland's vast scale, commercial kitsch, bounty and wealth in books like American Surfaces or his Road Trip Journal. Yet a forthcoming exhibition proves just how universally he can apply his vision.

Stephen Shore: Something + Nothing will open at  Sprüth Magers in London this coming November and run until the following January. Its title is a reference to John Cage’s Lecture on Something and Lecture on Nothing, yet it also points to the way in which Shore finds material in the most barren of artistic settings. The exhibition will show 65 photographs,dating from the early 1970s shot in parochial America, through to his more recent series, taken in Abu Dhabi (2009), Israel (2010) and Ukraine (2012).

Rather than place these sequentially or geographically, curator Todd Levin has chosen a number of recurring themes for this show's themes. Roads and intersections; billboards; hastily captured portraits; local consumer tendencies and tastes.

 

Palm Beach, Florida, April - May 1973 by Stephen Shore
Palm Beach, Florida, April - May 1973 by Stephen Shore

We can all picture the big signs and wide roads of Shore's US photographs. What's thrilling is to consider how he's kept himself stimulated as an artist, by finding similar, though in some senses crucially different subject matter across the globe. It reminds us of Shore's responses to interview questions we put to him a few years ago: “Whenever I find myself copying myself – making pictures whose problems I've already solved – I give myself new issues to pursue. This could be a change of content, or of media, or of camera format, or of the formal questions I'm exploring. For me, the pictures I make are the by-product of my explorations, not an end in themselves.'

 

Stephen Shore, U.S. 97 (21 July, 1973), South of Klamath Falls, Oregon, USA
Stephen Shore, U.S. 97 (21 July, 1973), South of Klamath Falls, Oregon, USA

For more on the show, go here. For greater insight into the work of this wonderful photographer, please take a look at Stephen Shore's Book of Books, American Surfaces, The Nature of Photographs, as well as other titles and prints. And to take advantage of some far-from everyday offers and events, do sign up for Phaidon Club before you buy anything.