Jill Greenberg: End Times
Text by Paul Wombell.
Pictures of crying children are viscerally upsetting. As photographer Jill Greenberg says, “there is something instinctive that makes you want to protect them.” End Times consists of 32 individual photographic portraits of young children crying, originally made by Greenberg in 2005 as a direct response to the policies of the Bush administration. Greenberg took her inspiration from an essay written by Bill Moyers titled “There Is No Tomorrow,” which discusses the negative influence of religious fundamentalists on American politics, in particular on environmental policy, foreign policy, gay marriage, stem cell research and abortion. She interspersed her highly saturated color portraits with reproductions of contemporaneous newspaper headlines, and gave the portraits titles that expressed her apocalyptic vision of Bush-era America, such as “Armageddon,” “Misinformation,” “Angry Country” and “Torture.” Needless to say, the controversy surrounding the release of these images in 2006 was colossal, erupting into a firestorm of debate that re-ignites nearly every time the work is exhibited. This volume gathers Greenberg’s series for the first time. At once discomfiting and quirky, unreal and heart-stopping, End Times is a howl of helplessness and condemnation.
Jill Greenberg (born 1967) earned her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1989. She is represented by ClampArt in New York and Katherine Cone Gallery in Los Angeles. She has exhibited her work internationally at museums and galleries in Rome, Amsterdam, New York, Los Angeles, Paris and Montreal, and at venues such as the TED conference and Art Basel Miami Beach.