Ahead of her Time
Artist Sarah Charlesworth is experiencing something of a revival
Sarah Charlesworth, the conceptual photographer and BOMB co-founder who died last year at the age of 66, had an eerily prescient view of our post-digital, media-saturated world. So it’s fitting that she’s experiencing something of a revival: two of her pieces are in the current Whitney Biennial and she is the subject of two exhibitions, one opening at the Art Institute of Chicago in September and another at Maccarone Gallery on view until June 21. The latter is comprised of pieces from her ’80s series, Objects of Desire, in which she isolated and juxtaposed pop culture imagery—culled, in those pre-Internet days, from print sources, collaged, and then photographed—against lush fields of Cibachrome color. Taken as a whole, the series is an intense headlong hurtle through thousands of years of visual iconography that pre-dates Instagram by a quarter of a century. But despite her foresight, Charlesworth never achieved the household name status of other Pictures Generation artists, a loosely knit group that includes Cindy Sherman, Sherrie Levine, and Robert Longo. “Which is shocking to me,” says Maccarone Gallery founder Michele Maccarone. “The images were made 30 years ago but they’re so contemporary and so powerful.”
Objects of Desire is on view at Maccarone Gallery, 630 Greenwich Street, New York, NY, 212-431-4077, through 21 June.