CRITICAL MASS 2017 TOP50 SPECIAL EVENT!
Book Signing and Talk
August 1, 5 - 7pm
at Edition ONE Gallery
For more than 40 years, Susan Ressler has been photographing affluence in America -- in particular, the power relations that inhere in corporate and consumer culture. In Executive Order (Daylight, April 2018), Ressler invites us to examine the executive boardrooms, private offices, and lobbies of businesses that became especially prominent during the 1970s in downtown Los Angeles and other urban environments in the Mountain West. Ressler's images provide a fascinating critique of corporate America during this period of explosive growth when profits were increasingly preempting people. Her work, which has an undercurrent of cool detachment coupled with a dose of irony, combines images devoid of people allowing us to see the hollowness of these modern work spaces, with portraits of employees playing the typical roles assigned to them in the new American economy.
The images in Executive Order preceded and were then a part of a ground-breaking 1979-80 National Endowment for the Arts sponsored survey entitled the Los Angeles Documentary Project, intended to document life in Los Angeles during its Bicentennial. Ressler was among eight noted photographers chosen to participate, and her contribution is now recognized as an epochal and historically important record of the growth of corporate America which still resonates today. The middle section of Executive Order presents twelve images from the NEA project (from a portfolio of fifteen) which Ressler describes as among the most sterile and isolating pictures in the series.
Unlike many of the other photographers of the 1970s who primarily photographed outdoors, Ressler brought the "New Topographics" aesthetic inside these soulless, claustrophobic business suites. There, she found signifiers of the new American economy at every turn - symbols of class, gender and racial hierarchies. Her 35mm camera zeroes in on the wall hangings, furniture styles and various totems of success that surround the rich and powerful. -Daylight Books