Known for his photographs of cities and cultural destinations, Thomas Struth possesses the rare ability to make historical transformation visible in an image. In this pursuit, he is direct heir to the great photographic tradition of Eugène Atget and Charles Marville, August Sander and Walker Evans. The scale and pictorial complexity of his works have played an indispensable role in bringing to photography the respect and attention received by painting. While his predecessors focused on describing and preserving for posterity the progress of modernization within specific nationalist contexts (Marville's encyclopedia of Haussmanization, Sander's typology of Weimar society), Struth depicts the unraveling of the modern era's fixed cultural boundaries under the impact of globalism. Filled with wittily appropriate slogans such "Space Will Never Be the Same" and "It Will Stay that Day All Day," Struth's picture is a phantasmagoria of our information age, a collage of corporate come-ons, streaming stock quotes and news tickers, ads for cell phones and televisions. Looming over the proceedings is a shimmering female face that emanates from a giant LED screen wrapping around the façade of a skyscraper. Her ghostly presence serves as an ironic counterpoint to the buzz and whirr of her electronic environment and as a reminder of the humanity strangely absent from our newly virtual surroundings.
Inscription: Signed in pencil on printed label affixed to frame verso: "Thomas Struth"; numbered in ink on the frame verso: "10/10"
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Modern Photographs from the Collection X," December 14, 2004–September 11, 2005.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Thomas Struth: Photographs," September 29, 2014–February 16, 2015.
Eklund, Doug, Maria Morris Hambourg, Ann Goldstein, and Charles Wylie. Thomas Struth: 1977–2002. Dallas: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2002. p. 99.