Feb 1, 2017

Lauren Greenfield's Career Retrospective 'Generation Wealth' Opens April 8th.

February 1st, 2017 – On April 8, 2016, the Annenberg Space for Photography will premiere Generation Wealth by Lauren Greenfield, a multimedia exhibit by internationally acclaimed photographer and filmmaker Lauren Greenfield that investigates the global obsession with wealth over the last 25 years. Through a collection of 195 color-saturated prints, 42 riveting first-person interviews, multimedia projections and short films, Greenfield creates a revelatory cultural exhibition that documents the values of materialism, celebrity culture, social status and media saturation that have touched nearly every corner of the globe.

The exhibit marks Greenfield’s third collaboration with the Annenberg Space for Photography and first solo exhibit. In March 2009, Greenfield was chosen to be a Featured Photographer in its inaugural exhibition, L8S ANG3LES, which explored the lives and rituals of the youth of Los Angeles. In May 2011, Greenfield was not only a Featured Artist in the Beauty CULTure exhibit, but was also commissioned by The Annenberg Foundation to direct a 30-minute documentary film about the subject, investigating our obsession with beauty and the influence of photographic representations on the beauty landscape.

“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,” said Wallis Annnberg, Chairman of the Board, President and CEO of The Annenberg Foundation. “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, thought-provoking body of work and, now more than ever, it’s one we all need to see.”

Generation Wealth is a multi-platform project that started 25 years ago in Los Angeles with Fast Forward, Greenfield’s exploration of the lives of young Los Angelenos growing up in a mediasaturated society, and their relationships with money and celebrity. In 2008, she returned to this evocative milieu with a short film, kids + money, selected by the Sundance Film Festival and broadcast by HBO. In 2012, she returned to Sundance with the opening night film, The Queen of Versailles, which documents a Florida family’s efforts to build the largest house in American against the backdrop of the economic crisis. After a sensational opening at Sundance, the film was acquired by Magnolia Pictures and Lauren was awarded Sundance’s Best Director Award. Her work on Fast Forward, kids + money, and The Queen of Versailles serves as the basis for many of the themes Greenfield has continued to explore throughout her career: consumerism, media influence, gender and self-esteem, and the pervasive quest for the American Dream. Since the success of The Queen of Versailles, Greenfield’s journey has taken her across America and beyond, revealing stories of students, single parents, and families overwhelmed by crushing debt, yet determined to purchase luxury homes, cars and clothing. From Bel-Air to Monaco, Russia and China, Greenfield exposes a pervasive aspirational gap between what we want and what we can afford and reveals a consumer appetite unprecedented in human history.

In conjunction with the exhibit, Phaidon Press will publish Lauren Greenfield: Generation Wealth on May 15, the highly anticipated monograph that follows Greenfield’s travels to 17 countries over 25 years, bearing witness to the global boom-and-bust economy and documenting its complicated consequences. Beginning April 8, the Annenberg Space for Photography will serve as the exclusive retailer of the book before its wide international release.

Generation Wealth documents a seismic shift in values and in the concept of the American Dream”, Greenfield explains. “Beginning in Los Angeles in the 90’s, I examined the ‘influence of affluence’ as media and globalization exported our notions of success around the world. The title of the project and some of the pictures could mislead the reader to think that this is a work about the one percent, about people who are wealthy. It is not. This work is about the aspiration 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. Bringing together 25 years of analog and digital photography, interviews, and filmmaking, I never could have realized this mammoth undertaking without the incredible support and encouragement of Wallis Annenberg who is an unparalleled champion of artists and with whom I have been grateful to collaborate with on three exhibitions. The story of Generation Wealth began in Los Angeles and I am deeply honored to debut this work in my hometown.”

Lauren's recent commercial work includes spots for Chevy, Toyota, and Ad Council. For more of Lauren's work, please visit Chelsea.com.

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