Ohara's "One" was featured in the Museum of Modern Art's 1970 exhibition Information, which first summarized Conceptual Art for the wider public. The series in its entirety (published as a book without text) comprised nearly a thousand brightly lit, startling close-ups of blank, anonymous faces in seemingly every color, shape, and texture. In one concise gesture, Ohara synthesized many hallmarks of 1960s Conceptualism: the deadpan typological photography of the Bechers; the seriality and random sampling seen in Warhol and Ruscha; and the modular progressions of primary structures common to the Minimalist sculpture of Judd and Lewitt. By imposing a standard format on a plethora of diverse faces, the artist recalls modern rituals such as the mug shot, passport photo, or police line-up, which filter individual subjects through the homogenizing, bureaucratic systems of contemporary life. The result is what Ohara described as "a telephone book of faces."
Inscription: Signed, dated, and inscribed in pencil on the verso, C: "ONE [underlined] 1970 PAGE 1 // Ken Ohara"
the artist, via Stephen Cohen Gallery, Los Angeles
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 31," January 28, 2002–May 19, 2003.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Indexing the World," May 25, 2004–September 19, 2004.