Christopher Williams

The Production Line of Happiness, Art Institute of Chicago / Museum of Modern Art, New York / Whitechapel Gallery, London, 2015
Publisher: Art Institute of Chicago / Museum of Modern Art / Whitechapel Gallery.

ISBN: 9780865592643

Representing Christopher Williams’s first publication with a major American museum, this illuminating and unusual volume is equal parts artist’s book and exhibition catalogue. Over the course of his thirty-year career, Williams (b. 1956) has crafted photographs that engage—often through uncanny mimicry—the conventions of photojournalism, picture archives, and commercial imagery, as well as their sociopolitical contexts and implications. The book includes a trio of essays by curators Mark Godfrey, Roxana Marcoci, and Matthew S. Witkovsky, which explore Williams’s engagement with his artistic peers and predecessors, with cinema (particularly the film-essay), and with the methods and modes of display and publicity in the art world, in addition to a transcript of a talk Williams delivered on the work of John Chamberlain. These more conventional contributions are “interrupted” by additional historical and contemporary textual and visual materials that were selected by the artist himself and are occasionally presented in facsimile form. An exhibition history, bibliography, and illustrated list of works round out the publication.

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