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Clth, 8 x 11 in. / 120 pgs / illustrated throughout.

Pub Date
Out of print

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Catalog: SPRING 2013 p. 63   

ISBN 9781938922077 TRADE
List Price: $45.00 CDN $55.00

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Jill Greenberg's controversial photographs of young children crying, made in response to the policies of the Bush administration



Jill Greenberg: End Times

Text by Paul Wombell.

Featured image, "Armageddon," is reproduced from <I>Jill Greenberg: End Times</I>.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 End Times consists of 32 individual photographic portraits of young children crying, originally made by Greenberg in 2005 as a direct response to the policies of the Bush administration.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.

Featured image, "Armageddon," is reproduced from Jill Greenberg: End Times.


The Photo Review

Matthew Beniamino

Controversy has always surrounded children in photographs, especially when they are presented in unconventional ways. In the early 1990s, Sally Mann received immense amounts of criticism for her intimate portraits of her children when she released her series Immediate Family. Over a decade later, and in what one would think is a more accepting world, Jill Greenberg’s series of crying children called End Times sparked an enormous amount of controversy after its debut in 2006. People were so outraged that Greenberg received frequent threats, but nonetheless the series rocketed into the public eye. When adults, especially parents, see these images of distressed children they often stir up a visceral response of outrage, but that is not the only controversial element at play. Greenberg created the work as a portal for her political views and her feelings of the world’s current diminishing state. She was inspired by an essay titled There is no Tomorrow by Billy Moyers in which he remarks about pictures of children on his desk, “We are stealing their future. Betraying their trust. Despoiling their world.” Greenberg relates to this view, in her artist statement talking about how she felt selfish bringing her own children, who are featured in the book, into the world in its current “screwed-up” condition.

End Times features 32 photographs originally taken in 2005, and done in Greenberg’s signature style. Dispersed among the images are newspaper clippings with tragic headlines such as “Waves of Death: Tsunami hit without warning” and “Terror in London: Four blasts hit transit system, killing dozens.” The book opens with several essays about Greenberg’s work that prepare the viewer to look beyond the captivating and controversial images of the children crying, and to see the meaning behind the images and the artist’s purpose. The book ends with an artist statement and explanation of the work by the artist. She speaks to how it was created and some of the tactics she used to get the children’s responses, often being nothing more than an irritated child being photo-graphed. The photographs of children depict them in a state of pure emotion, a powerful emotion that Greenberg feels adults have completely suppressed in themselves. These children are our future, but we have systematically destroyed the world they are growing up in, and remain numb and unaffected by it.

Jill Greenberg: End Times

STATUS: Out of print | 00/00/00

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ISBN: 9780847838660
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