Decontamination foam test (“Disaster City” National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center, Texas Engineering and Extension Service [TEEX], College Station, Texas), 2006
Pigmented inkjet on paper
24 x 30 inches
Courtesy of the Artist and
the Artist Pension Trust, NY
© Paul Shambroom

 

PAUL SHAMBROOM PICTURING POWER

January 22 – April 5, 2009

PAUL SHAMBROOM PICTURING POWER is the first exhibition to bring together selections from all five of Shambroom’s most important–and highly acclaimed–series to date: Factories (1986-1988), Offices (1989-1990), Nuclear Weapons (1992-2001), Meetings (1999-2003), and Security (2004-current). Shambroom, has made an indelible mark on the landscapes of photography and political discourse. His series-based color photographs reveal both local and global manifestations of power, depicting scenes in industrial, business, community, and military environments.

In the late 1980s, Shambroom created images of manufacturing sites and office spaces where many Americans spend the majority of their day, from gritty industrial factories, to immaculate biotech labs and empty office cubicles. For his next series, Shambroom gained access to long-restricted nuclear sites, where he produced eerie images of slumbering bombs and immaculate, empty war rooms. For Meetings, Shambroom traveled to municipal meetings in small communities as far flung as Bernice, Louisiana and Baltic, South Dakota, to document public officials in a formal portrait style. His most recent work documents security training at facilities across the country. In this series, past and future, reality and fiction, blur as each figure creates a picture of threat and resistance in our post-9/11 age. While diverse in subject matter, Shambroom’s series all record and demystify secret and little-seen loci of power. His images are remarkable both for their stark portrayal of such places, and as evidence of his access to the sites. Negotiating this access in an open and democratic manner is a hallmark of Shambroom’s practice.

PAUL SHAMBROOM PICTURING POWER is a traveling exhibition organized by curator Diane Mullin of the Weisman Art Museum (Minneapolis, MN), and co-curators Christopher Scoates (Director, University Art Museum, CSU, Long Beach) and Helena Reckitt (The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto).

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