Walead Beshty started his Industrial Portraits series in 2008. Still ongoing, he realizes them wherever he goes, asking all the art people he works with to pose in their working environment and working clothes.
This straightforward black and white documentation thus portrays the studio assistants, gallery staff, curators, lab technicians, critics, fellow artists, collectors, art handlers, and even the ‘machines’, which contribute to an artwork’s progress from studio to gallery and beyond.
Captioned first as ‘framer’, ‘Fedex courier’, or ‘darkroom assistant’ and then identified with their initials and the location and date of the shoot, together his models form a non-hierarchical kaleidoscopic yet very detailed Facebook of the art world, following in part the tradition of great American anthropological photographic surveys.
This pocket-book gathers together the Industrial Portraits created between 2008 and 2012 and is introduced by an essay by Hans Ulrich Obrist. A second volume will be published to span the subsequent years.
Born in London in 1976, Walead Beshty is an artist and writer based in Los Angeles. He is renowned for his unique conceptual approach to photography and sculpture and his emphasis on the conditions of the production and circulation of images and artworks.