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View of “Jo Spence,” 2012. Studio Voltaire.

Jo Spence

Space/Studio Voltaire

View of “Jo Spence,” 2012. Studio Voltaire.

Jo Spence rejected the term “artist,” preferring to describe herself as a “photographer” or “cultural sniper.” This skepticism toward the art world was reflected in her distinctive modes of practice, the alternative networks via which her work circulated, and the unusual trajectory of her career. The catalogue for this two-part show characterized Spence’s aesthetic as “rough edged, recycled, personal—in essence positively amateur,” yet her works were far from dilettante dabblings, being so fundamental to the daily existence of their maker. Rather, Spence’s production was characterized by a patent indifference to the market and an emphasis on the use-value of photography—as document, political statement, educational device, and therapeutic tool.

“Work (Part I),” at SPACE, focused on Spence’s career from the 1960s to the early ’80s, while “Work (Part II),” at Studio Voltaire,

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