Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy - Candlestick Point

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Image of Candlestick Point

Lewis Baltz , (Sep 12, 1945–Nov 23, 2014)
Essay by Gus Blaisdell

Candlestick Point


Medium and Support: eight-four prints (seventy-two gelatin silver prints, twelve chromogenic prints)
Credit Line: Gift of Dr. Michael Kaplan
Accession Number: 2003.19.1-84


Lewis Baltz was among the eight photographers included in New Topographics: Photographs of Man-Altered Landscapes (1975), a seminal exhibition at the George Eastman House, Rochester, New York, curated by William Jenkins. These artists reject as anachronistic the picturesque vision of landscape of the previous generation of photographers such as Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, and Minor White. Favoring what Jenkins called a more “neutral” approach, the New Topographers prefer to the romantic vision of an unspoiled landscape one that accepts the environment of today, one punctuated by the visual clutter of human settlement—the strip malls, power lines, billboards, and suburban housing developments—increasingly the nature most Americans experience. Distancing themselves from the drama of the sublime landscape, these photographers create seemingly objective documents that record the commonplace and often unsightly elements of nature in modern America.
Scrapping traditional notions of beauty, these photographers find visual potential in wastelands and sprawl. The powerful aesthetic statements they make from, for example, the relationship between a roller-coaster and the natural curves of surrounding hills, the geometry and symmetry of industrial forms, or blinding desert light suffusing earth and humanity reflect the complex relationship between humans and the environment.

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