Alissa Quart is the executive editor of the journalism nonprofit Economic Hardship Reporting Project. She is the author of four books including Branded and the poetry book Monetized. Her fifth book, Squeezed: Why Our Families Can’t Afford America, is forthcoming in June 2018. She writes the “Outclassed” column for The Guardian. (January 2018)
Greenfield’s raw material, materialism, is candy-colored and stimulating. It is also almost uniformly depressing. In “Generation Wealth,” she shows us the self-starved bodies of the affluent young, among their parents’ magma-flow of possessions. We see their marmoreal homes, their beauty regimes, and their fathers’ younger, heliotropic second wives. The overall affect of the exhibition’s packed two floors and the accompanying book, a dense gold brick with some 650 images, is nihilism. At times, it even feels gleefully so.