From Eugène Atget and Walker Evans to Conceptual artists such as Bernd and Hilla Becher, much photographic practice has been grounded in the idea of the archive as a means of collecting and constructing meaning from the made world, including its most seemingly insignificant and throwaway creations. Contributing to and reflecting upon the increasing proliferation of images in modern culture, painters such as Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol in the 1960s incorporated directly onto their canvases some of the most debased forms of mass-media pictures-tabloid photographs of celebrities and suicides-through techniques such as collage, image transfer, and silkscreening so as to confront their unavoidable presence in our culture.
Unlike the archives of their predecessors, however, the McCoys pull apart, catalogue, and sequence thousands of individual shots that comprise a completely fictitious world-the 1970s cop show Starsky & Hutch. Lodged in the subconscious of an entire generation, the McCoys' banal source material is subjected to the nonlinear, nonnarrative logic of the computer database, grouped typologically by structural technique (every zoom in, every special effect), stock character (alcoholic, bookie), or action (car chase, drug use). Both novel and traditional, Every Shot, Every Episode is a witty and thorough critique of media imagery, a portable reference guide for those raised and reared by television, and an updated version of a tradition as old as photography itself.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Modern Photographs from the Collection V," June 4, 2002–December 29, 2002.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Indexing the World," May 25, 2004–September 19, 2004.