When people look at offices, sometimes all they see is a place of business. For social documentarist Susan Ressler, an office is a place where power, class, and social standing are all delicately intertwined into a recipe for success or failure.
Executive Order: Images of 1970s Corporate America is an ongoing exhibition at the Joseph Bellows Gallery in California. It’s open for public viewing until the 30th of November, 2018 and showcases the work of artist, author, and educator Susan Ressler. The images on display were captured by Ressler using her 35 mm camera between 1977 and 1980, mostly around the Los Angeles and Mountain West area.
These dated photographs document the point where contemporary interior design and corporate power structures meet. Ressler saw beyond the spaces, furniture, and decor. She was aware of the various elements at play in these corporate temples. Important decisions were made in those places — ones which could birth tycoons and collapse business empires. Those spaces frequented by the business elite held meaning, the battlefields of corporate power. These places and their stories are now on display for the public to see.
However, looking at these spaces from a different point of view reveals their almost artistic qualities. Looking as if they could be part of a production set or an artist’s curated studio. The setting of the furniture, placement of office equipment, and the emptiness of rooms adding an almost intangible, yet certainly striking visual quality to the images.
All information used in this article was sourced from Joseph Bellows Gallery.