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Sharon Lockhart

Stephen Bade, Electrician


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Sharon Lockhart’s photographic triptych depicts three views of a red-and-white lunch box. It is part of a series from the artist’s multidisciplinary project Lunch Break (2008–10) that focuses on the disappearing American working class and comprises two films and several series of photographs, including workers on their lunch break. Lockhart spent one year in Bath, Maine, at the Bath Iron Works shipyard observing, talking to, and being with workers during their daily shifts. Stephen Bade, Electrician belongs to a series of diptychs and triptychs that portray workers’ lunch boxes. Lockhart’s photographs, which double as still lifes, use the lunch boxes’ stickers, labels, and contents to create a portrait of the individual while also drawing into question portraiture’s ability to ever fully depict its subject. According to the artist, “the lunch boxes were a way of getting around the conventionality of the workers’ portraits.” In this instance, examples of self-expression include stickers of an American flag and those that show affiliation with the US Navy along with such slogans as “Work is the curse of the drinking class.” [Permanent collection label, 2023]

  • Artist Sharon Lockhart (American, b. 1964)
  • Title Stephen Bade, Electrician
  • Date 2008
  • Medium 3 chromogenic color prints
  • Edition description 3/6
  • Dimensions framed | each frame, 25 1/16 x 31 1/8 x 2 in.
  • Credit line Gift of Sharon Lockhart, 2022
  • Object number WU 2022.0006.0001 a-c

New Acquisitions in Contemporary Art
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 07/19/2023 James M. Kemper Gallery, Room 3

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