In the Air – Art+Auction’s Gossip Column
See Doug Rickard’s Google Street View-Inspired Art at Aperture and Yossi Milo
In a strikingly postmodern departure from the gritty tradition of street photography (where photographers actually go out in the streets to photograph), Doug Rickard’s “A New American Picture” monograph consists of photos of images taken by the Google Street View car. Unable to personally explore the back streets and forgotten alleys of American cities, Rickard settled on a virtual exploration, capturing the most striking images with a tripod aimed at his computer screen.
Rickard’s process — culling the images from the depths of the internet and then liberating them from the ether with his camera — results in blurry depictions of boarded-up houses, abandoned lots, and desolate cityscapes populated by anonymous subjects with pixelated faces. While removed from his subjects, and not responsible for the images’ existence, Rickard’s ability to recognize the decisive moment vital to street photography makes this collection an incredible portrait of American’s forgotten streets. (Other artists who have mined Google Street View for photographic material include Jon Rafman, whose “Nine Eyes of Google Street View” made our list of 100 iconic artworks since 2007.)
A limited-edition monograph of “A New American Picture” was released in 2010, and selected images from the book have been included in exhibitions in Europe and America. In September 2012, aperture published a second edition with 40 new images. It is available at Aperture Foundation, where Rickard will be signing copies on October 16, and Yossi Milo Gallery, where he will be on October 18 signing books and celebrating his first solo show in New York City.
(Photo credit: Doug Rickard, courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York and Stephen Wirtz Gallery, San Francisco)