Riots. Bill Owens


Galerie de Multiples, Paris; 21st November – 20th December 2009; Special project during ParisPhoto
Curated by Claudia Zanfi (Owens Archive)
Thirty years after the cultural revolution in ‘68, Bill Owens presents in Paris ‘RIOTS’, a new and unpublished work on the occasion of ParisPhoto.
This series of black and white photographs documents the rise of the campus protest movements in San Francisco in 1967/68.  Bill Owens captured the students’ desire to stand up and rise their voice against the war in Vietnam, against segregation and racial discrimination, against authority in general. Slogans and billboards, protest sit-in and squatting, demonstrations and disputes with policemen are evidences of the cultural agitation of those years. Bill Owens has always been involved in socio-anthropological aspects of the American culture and in the rising of collective movement of protest and critic against misuse of power. Here he uses photography as a kind of ‘visual anthropologist’ describing a real ‘fresco’ of the cultural revolution that signed the entire world in the Sixties. The Paris exhibition proposes a new visual presentation through large prints installed directly on the wall. In this occasion a special edition in a limited number will be realized from one of his most representative work.

Bill Owens was born in 1938 in San Jose, California, and he now lives and works in Hayward, California. In 1963 he graduated in Industrial Arts and in 1966 he enrolled at the San Francisco State College to study photography.  His book, “Suburbia”, is considered one of the most important works published  on the issue of cities and suburbs. Bill Owens’ images have been printed in books and publications like Rolling Stone, Bomb, Esquire and Newsweek. His photographs are held in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, (New York), the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Los Angeles County Art Museum, the Moderna Museet, Stockholm. In March 2008 an extended monographic book is published by Damiani Editore including 40 years of Owens’ work.

The exhibition is conceived as a special project during ParisPhoto, and is realized in collaboration with aMAZElab, Milan and Claudia Zanfi, curator of Bill Owens’ Archive.

The artist will be present for the opening of the show and book signing on Saturday 21st November from 5 to 8 PM.

Galerie de Multiples
17, Rue Saint-Gilles, Paris