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Article
Picturing Efficiency: Precisionism, Scientific Management, and the Effacement of Labor
Representations (2003)
  • Sharon L. Corwin, Colby College
Abstract

In the early decades of the twentieth century, the pursuit of efficiency came to dominate instances of industrial and artistic production: the engineering consultants Frank and Lillian Gilbreth attempted to visualize a language of minimal waste, while Precisionist art achieved its own aesthetic of efficiency. This essay examines the Precisionist project alongside the discourses of the rationalized factory and suggests a relationship between the formal economy of Precisionism and the rhetoric of scientific management. For Precisionist art and the Gilbreths' time-motion studies, the representation of efficiency ultimately entailed the elision of artist and worker as producers of labor.

Keywords
  • photography,
  • photographic realism,
  • labor,
  • scientific management
Publication Date
November, 2003
Citation Information
Sharon L. Corwin. "Picturing Efficiency: Precisionism, Scientific Management, and the Effacement of Labor" Representations Vol. 84 Iss. 1 (2003)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/sharon_corwin/5/