Pictures Generation

Pictures Generation

The ‘Pictures Generation’ describes a cohort of American artists from the early 1970s, noted for their critical examination of media culture.

The Pictures Generation was influenced by philosophers like Roland Barthes, who’d already raised questions about the notions of originality and authenticity in his manifesto ‘The Death of the Author’. With this, the Pictures Generation started a journey to create art that scrutinised their interactions with popular culture and mass media.

They used various mediums such as photography, film, video, and performance, constructing artworks that harnessed the same seductive and desire-inducing mechanisms they encountered. For example, Cindy Sherman captured images of herself dressed as B-movie heroines, while Richard Prince dissected mass consumerism through his depictions of cowboys sourced from advertisements.

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Parra's studio, with Parra at the centre, his back to the camera as he works on the large painting takes centre stage, showing a faceless blue woman in a striped dress, painted in red, purple, blue and teal. The studio is full of brightly coloured paints, with a large window on the right and a patterned rug across the floor under the painting.