In two of these galleries is a re-creation of the 1977 Artists Space show Pictures, originally curated by critic Douglas Crimp. Organized under the directorship of Helen Winer (who later co-founded Metro Pictures), the exhibition featured work by Troy Brauntuch, Jack Goldstein, Sherrie Levine, Robert Longo, and Philip Smith. "Pictures" at an Exhibition provides an opportunity to re-activate history while also allowing us to experience firsthand an exhibition considered critical in defining a particular moment in contemporary art history. While every effort has been made to reproduce the show, this is a partial re-creation: some works no longer exist, some were lost, and some could not be borrowed.
The press release for Pictures described the show as follows: The exhibition identifies the work of a group of young artists that represent a new sensibility. The fundamental relationship between the artists under consideration for the show is their use of recognizable, non-abstract images, without, however, resurrecting representation as it is traditionally understood. Because the image itself is of primary importance, the means of its presentation is chosen for its transparency and efficiency. As a result, the artists work in a variety of mediums and shift with ease from one to another. Thus the work range from painting and sculpture to photography, film, and audio recordings.
To further contextualize the moment that Pictures embodied, a show of emerging artists is presented on the other side of the gallery. There exists no straight line between Pictures and the ideas presented by these four artists; rather, their work encourages us to consider the evolution of the conceptual practices behind appropriation. Their work demonstrates the sampling and re-programming that some artists today employ to create their work.