Robert Mann Gallery is pleased to announce the representation of Mike Mandel. Born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, Mandel is heavily influenced by the period of expansion and franchising in the Los Angeles region during the 1960s and ‘70s. His photographic series utilize elements of popular media to communicate themes of alienation, commercialization, and personal identity in an increasingly public world.
In the series People in Cars, the artist captures reactions to the sudden intrusion of his camera into the private space of the car, a defining element of Southern California culture after an era of massive freeway expansion. In the tongue-in-cheek Baseball-Photographer Trading Cards, great photographers of the 20th century appear as exchangeable baseball cards complete with satirical stats and quotations. Evidence, a collaboration with Larry Sultan, marked a pivotal change in the idea of photographic authorship and narrative: using found photos carefully culled from the files of government agencies and corporations, the photographers imparted new meaning solely through context. And wonderfully apropros to our contemporary moment, Mandel’s Myself: Timed Exposures can be seen as the original selfies—endearingly awkward, unpretentiously charismatic, and supremely honest about human interactions in the modern age.
Mike Mandel was born in 1950 in Los Angeles. He received an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute, and currently teaches at the School of the Museum Fine Arts, Boston Studio Program at Tufts University. His work is in permanent collections including those of the Museum of Modern Art; The Center for Creative Photography; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. His published art books include Myself: Timed Exposures, Baseball-Photographer Trading Cards, Evidence (co-authored with Larry Sultan), Making Good Time, and State of Ata, (co-authored with Chantal Zakari), among others. He lives in Watertown, Massachusetts.