When Stephen Shore happened to be in Easton, Pennsylvania in June 1974, he photographed a red VW camper van on a street corner. To him, the picture was paying homage to the great photographer Walker Evans and at the same time, the vantage point from which he realised it would be the best to take pictures in large format from then on. In 1980, Bernd and Hilla Becher acquired a c-print of the motif – they had been on the road in the very same vehicle for decades, documenting the industrial complexes of the western world. Thus, the compact car inevitably became a metaphor for photography
However, the artists are connected by much more: they met in New York, 1973, and used to meet at group exhibitions, that featured works by both artists. A close friendship began to blossom. In addition to this, Shore appreciated Bernd and Hilla Becher for their role in paving the way for the younger generation of artists into the very world of photography he also pursued.
The main part of the exhibition is defined by artistic friendship. On show are works by the New Colour Photography movement's key figure Shore and the two influential documentary artists Becher from Düsseldorf. Furthermore, works in the vein of Becher have found their way into the exhibition, including works by Thomas Struth, Miles Coolidge, Thomas Ruff, Candida Höfer, Simone Nieweg, Andreas Gursky and Boris Becker.
Stephen Shore was born in New York in 1947 and at the tender age of 17, he moved into Andy Warhol's factory. Only 24 years old, he was the object of a solo exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He played an integral role in the development of North American (Colour-) photography of the 1960s and 70s and is considered one of the most eminent contemporary photographers
To celebrate the 2010 Quadriennale, NRW Forum has dedicated a show to this substantial chapter of modern photography history for the first time.
The exhibition is accompanied by the publication of a German/English catalogue, which – next to the main topic – also provides an overview of the class of Bernd Becher at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf including all the disciples.