LEWIS BALTZ

1 March 2013 - 2 June 2013
Lewis Baltz
Gilroy, 1967

The landscape photographs by the US-American Lewis Baltz are characterized by deserted and frequently devastated peripheries. In 1970s, he revolutionized fine-art photography with motifs that had previously not been thought worth depicting, such as industrial buildings, suburban housing developments, and wasteland.

From March 2013, the Albertina will dedicate an exhibition comprising as many as several hundreds of photographs to this artist, who was born in Newport Beach, California, in 1945. On display will be, among other works, the famous series The Tract Houses (1971) and The New Industrial Parks Near Irvine (1973-75), through which Baltz fundamentally reformed the genre of landscape photography, thereby addressing the disastrous impact of technology on society in the twentieth century.

Baltz’s imagery reveals itself as thoroughly innovative: in formally rigid photographs, such as in the series The Prototype Works (1967-76), the artist has defamiliarized architectural motifs to such an extent that they turn into almost abstract forms and surfaces. This utterly precise language of form, by which Baltz focuses on the materiality and surface textures of the objects depicted, demonstrates the influence of Minimal Art on his work. With their allusions to further artistic movements, such as Conceptual Art and Land Art, Baltz’s photographs turn out to be a play with citations and references that is to be analyzed in this exhibition.

The show will highlight outstanding works by Lewis Baltz, which apart from the aforementioned examples will include the series Candlestick Point (1987-89) and the colour photographs of Sites of Technology (1989-91). The Albertina seizes this exhibition as an opportunity to display exceptional photographs from its own holdings in the form of the two series The New Industrial Parks Near Irvine and The Prototype Works. Further excellent works by such artists as Robert Smithson, Ed Ruscha, Bernd & Hilla Becher, and Donald Judd will visualize artistic influences that proved to be crucial for Lewis Baltz’s work. This contextualization is meant to present the complexity of Lewis Baltz’s œuvre on the one hand and pay tribute to one of the most important photographers of the second half of the twentieth century on the other. 

 

Picture Gallery

 

Lewis Baltz

Irvine Ranch, 1968 
Lewis Baltz

Santa Cruz (B), 1970 
Lewis Baltz

Seaside, 1970 
Lewis Baltz

East Palo Alto, 1972 
 
Lewis Baltz

Southeast Corner, Semicoa, 333 McCormick, Costa Mesa, 1974 
Lewis Baltz

Von Karmen Road Between Alton and McGaw Roads, Looking East, 1974 
Lewis Baltz

Jamboree Road between Beckman and Richter Avenues, Looking Northwest, 1974 
Lewis Baltz

Kelvin between Derian and Jamboree Road looking towards Newport Center, 1974 
 
Lewis Baltz

Cray supercomputer, CERN, Geneva, 1989-91 
Lewis Baltz

National Centre for Meteorological Research, Grenoble, 1989-91 
Lewis Baltz

Anechoic chamber, France Télécom Laboratories, Lannion, 1989-91 
Lewis Baltz

Costa Mesa, 1971 
 
Lewis Baltz

Ideal, 1976 
Lewis Baltz

San Francisco, 1972 
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