This Land at Pier 24 Photography Museum, San Francisco
Photographs from the book Contemporary Suburbium by both Deanna Templeton and myself.
This Land focuses on work made throughout the United States within the past decade. The photographers assembled here examine aspects of the country’s current social climate, from the mundane to the politicized.
The exhibition’s title is drawn from Woody Guthrie’s song “This Land Is Your Land” (1940). Viewed by many as an alternative national anthem, it alludes to the uneasy tensions fundamental to our vision of this nation filled with promise and peril, possibilities and letdowns. At the bottom of the sheet of paper on which Guthrie handwrote the song’s lyrics, he noted, “all you can write is what you see.” The artists included in this exhibition use cameras rather than pens, creating photographs that speak to what they see in the United States today.
The projects on view—created by emerging as well as established photographers—are in-depth studies; some were made over several years and others remain ongoing. While no exhibition can claim to definitively address all aspects of the American experience, This Land offers diverse vignettes of life in the United States. Coinciding with a moment of widespread engagement in political and social issues, the exhibition encourages viewers to look closely and consider how these photographs may complement, contradict, or challenge their understandings of the current social landscape and life in this country. In a world where information sharing is abundant and instantaneous, passive consumption can easily become the norm. The works presented in This Land provide viewers with the opportunity to look, engage, and reflect about the people, places, and conditions shaping the discourse about this nation. Like Guthrie, these artists can impact us, awakening feelings that can transform the present and affect the future.
Dawoud Bey | Guillermo Galindo | Bruce Gilden | Jim Goldberg | Katy Grannan | An-My Lê | Richard Misrach | James Nares | Paolo Pellegrin | Daniel Postaer | Alessandra Sanguinetti | Bryan Schutmaat | Alec Soth | Deanna Templeton | Ed Templeton | Brian Ulrich | Corine Vermeulen | Donovan Wylie