A deep dive into The Met's rich collection of contemporary photography, Pictures, Revisited reassesses the legacy of visual appropriation at the Museum and beyond. The images in this show are snipped from magazines, staged, or copied outright from other artworks. Like the works in this exhibition, the show itself is a sort of remix; on the occasion of the Museum's 150th anniversary, it provocatively expands and reimagines The Met's landmark 2009 exhibition, The Pictures Generation, 1974–1984—the first major museum initiative to trace the evolution of visual appropriation through a network of practitioners including Sherrie Levine, Richard Prince, and Sarah Charlesworth. Drawing equally from pop culture and art history, the artists manipulated familiar photographs, ads, logos, and tropes, decontextualizing and reusing this imagery to upend traditional notions of authorship. Responding to a media landscape ever more saturated with images, they reached a conclusion which in our digital age seems obvious: where pictures once documented reality, they now replace it.
The source material for this work is a collection of 10,000 shots from Starsky & Hutch. Each episode is broken down into a series of individual shots. The artists have assigned key words to each shot: every plaid, every sexy outfit, every yellow Volkswagen, etc. There are 278 categories in total. Each category is archived on an individual video CD which is labelled in clear, bold lettering and installed in the gallery on a shelf. Video CDs are chosen by the gallery visitor and played via the built-in video screen.