<iframe src="//www.googletagmanager.com/ns.html?id=GTM-PTT6ZS" height="0" width="0" style="display:none;visibility:hidden"></iframe> Whitney Museum of American Art: Anne Collier: Despair
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Anne Collier




Anne Collier (1970-)






Chromogenic print


Sheet: 37 1/4 × 45 5/8 in. (94.6 × 115.9 cm) Image (Sight): 36 5/8 × 44 15/16 in. (93 × 114.1 cm) Frame: 38 1/8 × 46 7/16 × 1 1/2 in. (96.8 × 118 × 3.8 cm)

Edition information

AP 1/1 | Edition of 4

Credit line

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Purchase, with funds from the Photography Committee

Accession number


Object Label

Despair is one of a series of photographs of self-help tapes that Anne Collier purchased in a thrift store (others include Anger, Doubt, Anxiety, and Guilt). Positioned against a pristine white backdrop, an unspooled magnetic tape is rendered almost shadowless and clinical. The emotional resonance of the word Despair contravenes the neutral style of the photograph, suggesting a deeper turmoil beneath its cool surface. Like many of Collier's photographs of record sleeves, posters, magazines, and self-help manuals, the swirl of tape takes on the quality of an abstract drawing. Her work borrows equally from the legacy of West Coast Conceptual and Minimalist art and pop psychology, especially the self-help movement of the 1960s and 70s, in an attempt, as she puts it, “to draw analogies between these territories.”

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