Esther Shalev-Gerz | Describing Labor

Esther Shalev-Gerz | Describing Labor

describing labor – la gloire du fer by esther shalev–gerz

Esther Shalev–Gerz

Describing Labor – La Gloire Du Fer, 2012

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describing labor - steel by esther shalev–gerz

Esther Shalev–Gerz

Describing Labor - Steel, 2012

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describing labor - learning a trade in a garment factory by esther shalev–gerz

Esther Shalev–Gerz

Describing Labor - Learning a trade in a garment factory, 2012

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describing labor - work for america! by esther shalev–gerz

Esther Shalev–Gerz

Describing Labor - Work for America!, 2012

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Monday, December 3, 2012Sunday, April 7, 2013


Miami Beach, FL USA

Esther Shalev-Gerz
Describing Labor
The Wolfsonian
Florida International University

Once the heroic image of class consciousness and national character, pictured widely in the period of the Russian Revolution, the Great Depression, and the two World Wars, the worker has since receded from the foreground of the contemporary visual landscape. For Describing Labor, Shalev-Gerz gathered forty-one objects depicting the figure of the laborer--paintings, prints, sculptures, photographs, and rare publications--the majority drawn from The Wolfsonian's collection. she invited twenty-four participants to select an item and describe its depiction while she filmed them, "letting the image talk through them". Shalev-Gerz then asked each participant to place the selected work in the museum's storage racks, where she photographed its representation of labor in situ with other products of labor, such as furniture suites, decorative arts, and industrial objects from the Wolfsonian's collections.