Scheda libro


  • Author: Lewis Baltz
  • Edited by: Antonello Frongia
  • Year: 2014
  • Language: Italian
  • Pages: 176
  • Price: 16.00 €
  • ISBN: 978-88-6010-117-4
  • Size: cm 15.5 x 23

Lucid exponent of the American New Topographics current in the 1970s, and constantly engaged in deconstructing the politics of places and representations, since his debut Lewis Baltz has combined his visual art with thoughtful critical - and self-critical - writings. The reflections gathered in this book offer various perspectives on his forty year career and the transatlantic context it developed in, with pieces that accompany the early topographical pieces, narratives embedded in the text-image works of the late 1980s, and a substantial series of essays devoted to some of the most important photographers and artists of the twentieth century. In the latter, attention to the enigmatic materiality of the works is combined with a cool, disenchanted critique of their cultural, and also political worth. In this vein there are essays dedicated to Walker Evans, Edward Weston, Robert Adams, Michael Schmidt, Allan Sekula, Thomas Ruff and Jeff Wall, which explore the potential and limits of modernist photography. The book also contains detailed appreciations of artists like Krzysztof Wodiczko, Félix González-Torres, Barry Le Va, Chris Burden, James Turrell and Robert Irwin, John McLaughlin and Alessandro Laita, contemporaries of Baltz's with whom he shared artistic and life experiences. The book also offers insights on more general issues, such as the landscape and cities "in the age of nothing special".
While the gelid calm of Baltz's post-apocalyptic imagery helped purify the photograph of the last thirty years from the rhetorically opposing currents of social exposé and revelation, the harsh, even caustic tone of these writings continues to be relevant, challenging the presumed certainties upon which we base the institutions of art and photography.

  • About the author
  • Contents
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Lewis Baltz (1945) is one of the leading exponents of the conceptual trend in photography that emerged in the United States in the late 1960s and was made famous by the 1975 exhibition "New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape". Responsible for works that changed the way we think about this medium, like The Tract Houses (1969-1971), The New Industrial Parks near Irvine, California (1974), Park City (1978-1980), San Quentin Point (1981-1983) and Candlestick Point (1987-1989), in the 1980s Baltz moved to Europe and began working exclusively on site-specific projects, on commission and in collaboration with other artists.
From 2003 to 2013 he lectured in Visual Arts at the Faculty of Design and Arts of the IUAV University in Venice. He lives and works in Paris.

Introduction – 12 September 2011 by Matthew S. Witkovsky

1. Note sulle recenti aree industriali nel Sud della California
2. Problemi di paesaggio
3. Il più americano dei fotografi
4. The New West
5. Note su Park City
6. Too Old to Rock, Too Young to Die. La fotografia americana degli anni settanta
7. Note su Waffenruhe
8. The Deaths in Newport
9. Limiti della città (ma è già stata usata questa definizione?)
10. Imparare dal Lussemburgo
11. Un futuro migliore
12. Il pittore della vita moderna
13. Pesci e sottomarini
14. Senza titolo: Félix González-Torres
15. Auf diese Dinge gibt es keine Antwort
16. What Does Possession Mean to You?
17. Un film su Kim Novak
18. Michelina
19. Tosca
20. Note su Thomas Ruff
21. Velocity Piece #2 (Impact Run), Barry Le Va
22. Migropolis
23. Incontri con uomini straordinari: John McLaughlin
24. Note su Alessandro Laita
25. Guerra, pace ecc.
26. La città e il suo doppio
27. Osceno
28. L’inferno in terra: rappresentazioni distopiche all’epoca del nulla di speciale
29. Il sacco di Venezia

Sources and and notes by Chris Balaschak
Afterword– Il visibile e l’altrove: le parole di Lewis Baltz
by Antonello Frongia