• Andreas Gursky, Pförtner Spaeter Duisberg (Desk Attendants, Spaeter, Duisberg), 1982, color photograph, 17 x 19 5/6". © 2009 Andreas Gursky/SODRAC.

    “Andreas Gursky: Werke/Works 80–08”

    Vancouver Art Gallery
    750 Hornby Street
    May 30–September 20, 2009

    Curated by Martin Hentschel

    For a while, Andreas Gursky seemed special—the leader of the pack among Bernd and Hilla Becher’s students, who in the 1990s reformulated Conceptual photography as a dramatic as well as exacting enterprise. Gursky appeared more brazen and daring in his excursuses through the business and pleasure worlds of soi-disant late capitalism, perhaps because with his shift to digital techniques in the early ’90s, he indulged the extremes of the large-scale photograph. This touring exhibition—organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery, Germany’s Kunstmuseen Krefeld, and the Moderna Museet in Stockholm—has its final stop here and, with some 130 images, traces the full sweep of a career whose reception has been markedly polarized: Either one took Gursky for an absolute genius or stigmatized him as a regressive symptom of the Society of the Blah-Blah-Blah Spectacle. And then there were the auction records.