Award-winning photographer and director Lauren Greenfield, whom Time magazine has called “one of the most acclaimed chroniclers of youth culture and the affluent,” is the subject of a new monograph published by Phaidon and a major exhibition at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles that runs April 8 to August 13.
“Generation Wealth,” which spans two and a half decades of Lauren’s work, “examines the influence of affluence over the last 25 years, illustrating the globalization of materialism, celebrity culture and social status. This timely, thought-provoking collection explores how ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ has become Keeping Up With the Kardashians, magnifying the aspirational gap between what we want and what we can afford. The exhibit is not about the rich, but the pervasive desire for more,” notes the Annenberg in the promotional material for the show.
“There’s no hiding from the eye of a truly great photographer. Lauren Greenfield has given us nothing short of an x-ray of our ambitions and ideals. In all of contemporary photography, no one is better at exploring the tension between what we covet and who we really are—between the mad dash for affluence and the price we pay for that pursuit,” Wallis Annenberg, Chairman of the Board, President and CEO of the Annenberg Foundation, says in the press release for the exhibition. “To me, Lauren Greenfield is so much more than a groundbreaking artist; she’s a sociologist, a storyteller, an ironist and a keen humorist. This is a wonderful, timely, thought-provoking body of work and, now more than ever, it’s one we all need to see.”
“I think the power of capitalism, and exploiting addiction in general, is looking for insecurities and weaknesses,” Lauren told The Huffington Post, which featured a selection of images from the show. “Everybody that has insecurities becomes a very good consumer. The way marketing works is, if you buy this thing, it will fix what you feel is missing.” Smithsonian magazine also interviewed her about her exhibit and book. “If you ask kids today what they want to be when they grow up,” she noted, “most of them say, ‘Rich and famous.’”
Lauren will be speaking about her work on April 30 in Chicago as part of the Chicago Humanities Festival. Tickets are only $15 for nonmembers. More info here.
For a preview of the book Generation Wealth, and to preorder a copy, go here.
And for more information about the exhibition at the Annenberg, click here.