Ralph GOINGS, Chuck CLOSE, Don EDDY, Richard ESTES, Bden SCHONZEIT, Robert BECHTLE, Charles BELL, John SALT, Richard McLEAN, Ron KLEEM, Valerie Hillings (text)

Picturing America. Photorealism in the 1970's

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"At the end of the 1960s, a number of young artists working in the United States began to make paintings directly from photographs. This fully illustrated volume provides a snapshot of this chapter in art history and this particular moment in American history." (publisher's note, 2009)

"A McDonalds branch on a highway somewhere in the American South; in a parking lot out front, a white pickup truck in the merciless noon sun.
Projecting vertically are a lonely palm tree and a flagpole with the 'Stars and Stripes' hanging limp. It's a typical American motif that Ralph GOINGS depicted in his painting from 1970 titled McDonalds Pickup.
Yet despite this, his hyperrealist work seems strangely ambiguous: not a single person can be seen, either in the parking lot or in the fast-food restaurant. Not a single car on the street, not even a discarded hamburger wrapping. The square format shows a purified, nearly clinical version of reality and offers up the McDonald's branch as a symbol for a thoroughly homogenized American society.

Ralph Goings is one of the most important figures in Photo-Realism, the American art movement beginning in the late 1960s that depicted everyday motifs with painstaking verisimilitude in richly detailed paintings. In Picturing America: Photo-Realism of the 1970s, the Deutsche Guggenheim dedicates a comprehensive exhibition to these painters.
The exhibition was organized by Valerie Hillings, curator at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Thirty-two paintings and ten lithographs provide an overview of this striking art movement of the 1960s and '70s.

The show is divided into four sections, three exploring key themes of Photorealist painting during the 1970s-Reflections on the City, Culture of Consumption, and American Life-and a fourth dedicated to a portfolio of lithographs made on the occasion of documenta 5 in 1972. Nostalgic and yet still incredibly fresh, the works in the exhibition testify to a very special era in American history between the student revolts, the oil crisis and the Watergate scandal." (© Achim Drucks)