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  • West Wall, Semicoa, 333 McCormick, Costa Mesa (from The New Industrial Parks Near Irvine, California) (1974)

    Lewis Baltz

    Although Lewis Baltz originally tried to make landscapes in the tradition of Ansel Adams, he soon came to see such natural beauty as, ironically, artificial in some way. Where Baltz lived in Southern California, the view of mountains, forests, and wilderness was now blocked by tract housing, industrial parks, and other forms of real-estate development, so he photographed that instead. That was the California landscape now, he felt. A further ironic twist is that photographs like this of a corrugated concrete wall with spaded dirt beneath it take on a beauty all their own. They are a minimalist art form like the scrims of pure light created by fellow Californian James Turrell, who was a colleague and friend of Baltz, and other SoCal artists working in unconventional, artificial material like resins. Baltz, Joe Deal, Robert Adams, and Henry Wessel were the Western contingent in the exhibition of 1975, New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape, which created a revolution in landscape photography.

    Gelatin silver print 11 x 13 in
    Collection of Orange County Museum of Art © Lewis Baltz and courtesy Gallery Luisotti, Santa Monica

  • Sewage Tank, Santa Paula, California, 1953 (1953)

    William A. Garnett

    Gelatin silver print Image: 10 1/4 x 13 1/2 in.; Sheet: 10 13/16 x 13 13/16 in
    The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles © Estate of William A. Garnett

  • Untitled, Marin County (from Sideviews Portfolio) (1983)

    Lewis Baltz

    Gelatin silver print 8 x 10 in. each
    Collection of UCR/California Museum of Photography © Lewis Baltz and courtesy Gallery Luisotti, Santa Monica

  • Sunset, Big Sur Country (1957)

    Wynn Bullock

    Gelatin silver print
    Collection of UCR/California Museum of Photography © 1957/2011 Bullock Family Photography, LLC. All rights reserved

  • Glendale, California (from The Fault Zone) (1979)

    Joe Deal

    Gelatin silver print 14 x 14 in
    Collection of UCR/California Museum of Photography © The Estate of Joe Deal, Courtesy Robert Mann Gallery, New York.

  • Untitled, 1964 (1964)

    Oliver Gagliani

    Gelatin silver print 9 1/2 x 7 1/2 in
    Collection of Norton Simon Museum, Gift of the artist © Estate of Oliver Gagliani

  • Panco, Ltd., Irvine, California, 1981 (1981)

    Herb Quick

    Gelatin silver print 9 1/2 x 12 in
    Collection of UCR/California Museum of Photography © Herb Quick Archive, UCR/California Museum of Photography, University of California, Riverside

  • Wall with Trees (1979)

    Catherine Wagner

    Gelatin silver print 7 5/8 x 11 1/2 in
    Collection of Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, USA © Catherine Wagner, Courtesy Gallery Luisotti, Santa Monica

California Museum of Photography, University of California, Riverside

Seismic Shift: Lewis Baltz, Joe Deal and California Landscape Photography, 1944-1984

In the 1970s and early 1980s, Joe Deal and Lewis Baltz crossed paths at the University of California, Riverside (UCR), and the UCR/California Museum of Photography. This was the period when the exhibition New Topographics, which included both photographers, announced the arrival of a radical new aesthetic in landscape. Though that exhibition originated in Rochester, NY, and had an international impact, its origins lay in Southern California and its effect was to shift the epicenter of landscape photography in general from Northern California to the SoCal region. Seismic Shift will illuminate the far-reaching consequences of this revolution in landscape photography by tracing its local and regional history. Beginning with Ansel Adams and Edward Weston—and with the 1946 arrival in San Francisco of Minor White, who would extend the Weston-Adams tradition by transforming it—the exhibition will follow the history of landscape photography in the 1950s and 1960s through the careers of Wynn Bullock, Paul Caponigro and others. It will then explore how the 1970s work of Baltz, Deal and Robert Adams created a shock of recognition, an awakening to mutual ideas, so different from those of their predecessors that a younger generation of Western photographers shared. Portfolios of the period, including one done by a class Baltz taught at UCR, will demonstrate the immediacy that these ideas had.
10/01/2011 12/31/2011
California Museum of Photography, University of California, Riverside
3824 Main Street
Riverside, CA 92501