From the MOMA website: “Christopher Williams: The Production Line of Happiness—the first retrospective ever mounted of Christopher Williams (American, b. 1956)—spans the impressive 35-year career of one of the most influential cinephilic artists working in photography. Williams studied at the California Institute of the Arts in the mid to late 1970s under the first wave of West Coast Conceptual artists, including John Baldessari, Douglas Huebler, and Michael Asher, only to become his generation’s leading Conceptualist and art professor; he is currently professor of photography at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. Deeply invested in the histories of photography and film, architecture and design, Williams has produced a concise oeuvre that furthers a critique of late capitalist society in which images typically function as agents of spectacle.
For the title of this exhibition, Williams has taken a line from a documentary by French director Jean-Luc Godard, in which an amateur filmmaker compares his daily job as a factory worker with his hobby of editing his films of the Swiss countryside as “the production line of happiness.” In Williams’s hands the phrase appears to refer broadly to the function of much photography in today’s consumer culture, in which it not only pictures but also produces so many experiences and objects to be consumed.”