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The International Center of Photography opens 'Generation Wealth' by Lauren Greenfield
Jackie and friends with Versace handbags at a private opening at the Versace store, Beverly Hills, California, 2007. © Lauren Greenfield.

NEW YORK, NY.- The International Center of Photography opened its fall exhibition, Generation Wealth by Lauren Greenfield. This exhibit—an extraordinary visual record and thematic investigation of wealth obsession—is on view at the ICP Museum (250 Bowery) from September 20, 2017 through January 7, 2018.

Generation Wealth is a mixed media presentation composed of 25 years of work by photographer and documentary filmmaker Lauren Greenfield. The first major retrospective of Greenfield’s work, the exhibition features over 200 photographs, numerous first-person interviews, and documentary film footage. Weaving together stories about affluence, beauty, body image, competition, corruption, fantasy, and excess, Greenfield’s project questions the distance between value and commodity in a globalized consumerist culture.

“ICP recognized early on that Lauren Greenfield has important stories to tell,” said ICP Executive Director Mark Lubell. “Lauren received our Young Photographer Infinity Award in 1997 and she was our ICP Spotlights honoree in 2016—both acknowledgements celebrated her keen instinct about what’s happening in our culture and the powerful ways in which she communicates through both still and moving images. We’re thrilled to be able to provide a platform at the ICP Museum for Generation Wealth. It’s a beautifully shot and sweeping project that speaks volumes about the pervasiveness of consumer culture on a global scale and the shift from ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ to ‘keeping up with the Kardashians.’”

Greenfield’s lushly colored photographs—densely packed with visual information and paired with candid interviews with those pictured—are alternately shocking, humorous, touchingly vulnerable, and, often, unnervingly brash. The exhibition offers an insightful investigation into the pursuit of wealth, and its material trappings and elusive promises of happiness, and how it has evolved since the early 1990s.

Generation Wealth is presented in eight sections focusing on consumerism; the consumption of celebrity lifestyle and the “princess fantasy”; supercharged beauty and youth culture; changing socio-economic pressures and their influence on identity; the dream of home ownership and the shift beyond sustainable standards; The Queen of Versailles and the international crash that followed the feverish spending and luxury lifestyles of the early 2000s; emerging Chinese and Russian elite in the post-bubble gold rush; and the commercially packaged hedonism of Las Vegas and Magic City (Atlanta).

"Generation Wealth documents a seismic shift in values and in the meaning of the American Dream— examining the ‘influence of affluence’ as media and globalization exported our notions of success around the world,” says Greenfield. “This is about the desire for wealth and how that has become a driving force—and at the same time an increasingly unrealistic goal—for individuals from all classes of society. I’m thrilled to show this work at the International Center of Photography, where I had my first museum exhibition in 1997 (Fast Forward). The Generation Wealth journey began with the Fast Forward photographs of LA kids in the 90’s, so it is very exciting to return to the ICP with this thematic retrospective from the last 25 years.”

This exhibition was originally created by and presented at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles. A companion monograph Lauren Greenfield: Generation Wealth (Phaidon; $75.00 US/$95.00 CAN; Hardback), released in May 2017, offers an extraordinary visual record of rampant materialism and our growing obsession with wealth. A feature-length documentary film, also titled Generation Wealth, is nearing completion and will be distributed by Amazon Studios.

Lauren Greenfield is an Emmy Award®–winning documentary filmmaker and photographer who is considered a preeminent chronicler of consumerism, youth culture, and gender identity (Fast Forward, Girl Culture, and THIN). Her documentary film, The Queen of Versailles, won her the Best Director Award at Sundance in 2012 and numerous other best director awards. Greenfield’s photographs have been widely published, exhibited, and collected by museums around the world. Her #LikeAGirl video was seen by 214 million global viewers and garnered more than 100 awards.

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