Born in the postwar baby boom, Goldstein grew up surrounded by the products of the rapidly expanding media culture-movies, television, newspapers, magazines, and advertisements of all kinds. Young artists such as Goldstein went on to be educated in the rigorous and reductive principles of Minimal and Conceptual art during the 1970s but knew from personal experience that images shape our sense of the world and who we are, rather than vice versa; they made their art reflect that secondhand relationship to reality. In this early work, Goldstein has lifted, or "appropriated," images of a deep sea diver, a falling figure, and a spaceman from unknown printed sources-isolating them from their original contexts and setting them at a very small scale against monochromatic backgrounds (green for sea, blue for sky, and white for space), as if the viewer were seeing them from a great distance. Because the viewer is unlikely to have seen such figures firsthand, that distance is not merely spatial but also epistemological in nature-the images trigger memories based not on original encounters but on reproductions of experience. The Pull-Goldstein's only photographic work in a career that spanned painting, performance, film, and sound recordings-was included in "Pictures," a seminal 1977 exhibition at Artist's Space in New York, which also introduced the public to other young artists making use of appropriation, such as Sherrie Levine, Robert Longo, and Troy Brauntuch.
Jack Goldstein; Ann A. Wyatt, purchased 1977–78
Artists Space. "Pictures," September 24, 1977–October 29, 1977.
Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art. "Pictures," May 27, 1978–June 30, 1978.
University of Colorado Art Museum, Boulder. "Pictures," September 8, 1978–October 6, 1978.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Series and Sequence: Modern Photographs from the Collection," October 24, 2006–April 22, 2007.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Pictures Generation, 1974-1984," April 21, 2009–August 2, 2009.
Jewish Museum, New York. "Jack Goldstein x 10,000," May 10, 2013–September 29, 2013.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Dream States: Contemporary Photographs and Video," May 16, 2016–October 30, 2016.
Kaiser, Philipp, ed. Jack Goldstein x 10,000. Newport Beach, Calif.: Orange County Museum of Art, 2012. no. 22, pp. 70–71.