Robert Adams, Longmont Colorado, 1979, Gelatin silver print, 12.7 x 12.7 cm., Yale University Art Gallery, purchased with a gift from Saundra B. Lane, a grant from the Trellis Fund, and the Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund, © Robert Adams, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, and Matthew Marks Gallery, New York.

Robert Adams, Abandoned windbreak, West of Fontana, California, 1982, printed 1996, Gelatin silver print, 17.78 x 22.23 cm., Yale University Art Gallery, Purchased with a gift from Saundra B. Lane, a grant from the Trellis Fund, and the Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund, © Robert Adams, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, and Matthew Marks Gallery, New York.

Robert Adams, Where We Lived at the End of the 20th Century

Robert Adams, Northeast from Flagstaff Mountain, Boulder County, Colorado,1975, Gelatin silver print, 14.29 x 15.08 cm., Yale University Art Gallery, purchased with a gift from Saundra B. Lane, a grant from the Trellis Fund, and the Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund, © Robert Adams, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, and Matthew Marks Gallery, New York.

Robert Adams, Quarried Mesa Top, Pueblo County, Colorado,1976, Gelatin silver print, 22.7 x 28.3 cm., Yale University Art Gallery, purchased with a gift from Saundra B. Lane, a grant from the Trellis Fund, and the Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund, © Robert Adams, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, and Matthew Marks Gallery, New York.

Robert Adams, Edge of San Timoteo Canyon, looking toward Los Angeles, Redlands, California,1978, Gelatin silver print, 31.8 x 39.1 cm., Yale University Art Gallery, purchased with a gift from Saundra B. Lane, a grant from the Trellis Fund, and the Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund, © Robert Adams, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, and Matthew Marks Gallery, New York.

Robert Adams, Ranch Northeast of Keota, Colorado, 1969, Gelatin silver print, 18.9 x 23.2 cm., purchased with a gift from Saundra B. Lane, a grant from the Trellis Fund, and the Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund, © Robert Adams, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, and Matthew Marks Gallery, New York.

Robert Adams, Interstate 25, Eden, Colorado,1968, printed 2006, Gelatin silver print, 12.38 x 14.92 cm. Yale University Art Gallery, purchased with a gift from Saundra B. Lane, a grant from the Trellis Fund, and the Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund, © Robert Adams, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, and Matthew Marks Gallery, New York.

Robert Adams, Pikes Peak, Colorado Springs, Colorado,1969, Gelatin silver print, 12.38 x 14.92 cm., Yale University Art Gallery, purchased with a gift from Saundra B. Lane, a grant from the Trellis Fund, and the Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund, © Robert Adams, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, and Matthew Marks Gallery, New York.

Robert Adams, Frame for a Tract House, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1969, Gelatin silver print, 15.2 x 15.2 cm., purchased with a gift from Saundra B. Lane, a grant from the Trellis Fund, and the Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund, © Robert Adams, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, and Matthew Marks Gallery, New York.

 

Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Boulevard (at Fairfax Avenue)
323-857-6000
Los Angeles
BCAM, Level 2
Robert Adams:
The Place We Live,
a Retrospective Selection of Photographs

March 11-June 3, 2012

Robert Adams: The Place We Live, A Retrospective Selection of Photographs, showcases the artistic legacy of American photographer Robert Adams (b. 1937) and his longstanding engagement with the contemporary Western landscape. Featuring nearly 300 photographs and a key selection of the artist’s publications, the retrospective weaves together four decades of Adams’s work into an epic narrative of American experience in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Adams’s work reflects his dedication to describing the changing Western landscape — the growth of its built environment and the lives of its inhabitants — contemplating the presence of trees, the open plains, the Pacific Ocean, and the deforestation of the Pacific Northwest. At LACMA, the exhibition highlights Adams’s extraordinary portrayal of the terrain of the Los Angeles region.

“It is hard to envision the American West without the extraordinary achievements of Robert Adams. Adams conveys the often sharp luminosity and inky shadows of western geography like no other. Yet it is in his reckoning with man’s fraught presence that Adams’s spare and terribly beautiful photographs continue to challenge us,” said Edward Robinson, associate curator of the Wallis Annenberg Photography Department, who organized LACMA’s presentation.

Exhibition Overview With nearly 300 gelatin silver prints, the exhibition features the photographer’s major projects, from early pictures of quiet buildings and monuments erected by settlers of his native Colorado, to his most recent images of oceans and migratory birds in the Pacific Northwest. Accompanying the photographs in the exhibition are texts drawn from Adams’s own published writings that total more than forty books to date.

The reach of Adams’s work has been felt equally through his publications, which are an indispensable element of the artist’s creative practice. A selection of these books will be displayed; copies will also be available in a reading area and digitally on iPads in the exhibition, enabling visitors to experience Adams’s masterly use of the photographic book as a poetic medium in its own right.

Robert Adams: The Place We Live, A Retrospective Selection of Photographs is organized by Yale University Art Gallery. The exhibition was co-curated by Joshua Chuang, Assistant Curator of Photographs, and Jock Reynolds, the Henry J. Heinz II Director, both of the Yale University Art Gallery. The exhibition debuted at Vancouver Art Gallery (September 25, 2010-January 16, 2011) and traveled to Denver Art Museum (September 25-January 2, 2012). Following LACMA’s presentation, the show travels to Yale University Art Gallery before beginning an extensive European tour that begins at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid.

About Robert Adams Born in Orange, New Jersey, in 1937, Robert Adams moved with his family from Madison, Wisconsin, to Denver, Colorado, at the age of 15. He earned a PhD from the University of Southern California and, intent on pursuing an academic career, returned to Colorado in 1962 to work as an assistant professor of English at Colorado College. Disturbed by the rapid transformation of the Colorado Springs and Denver areas, Adams began photographing a landscape transformed by tract housing, highways, strip malls, and gas stations. “The pictures record what we purchased, what we paid, and what we could not buy,” Adams wrote. “They document a separation from ourselves, and in turn from the natural world that we professed to love.” Adams has also written insightful and eloquent essays on the practice and goals of art, which have been collected in the volumes Beauty in Photography: Essays in Defense of Traditional Values (1981) and Why People Photograph: Selected Essays and Reviews (1994). Since 1997, he has lived in Oregon, the landscape of which has been the setting of his last 20 years of work.

Adams’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Museum of Modern Art, New York; Denver Art Museum; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and Getty Museum, as well as a major mid-career retrospective organized by Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1989.

Exhibition Publication Robert Adams: The Place We Live, A Retrospective Selection of Photographs is accompanied by a fully illustrated three-volume publication. A second book, What Can We Believe Where?: Photographs of the American West (paperback), presents a sequence of more than 100 images culled from Robert Adams’s entire body of work, an introduction by the photographer, and an afterword by the exhibition curators. Both are published by Yale University Art Gallery and distributed by Yale University Press. Both publications are available in the museum store.

Robert Adams, Colorado Springs, Colorado,1968, printed 2006, Gelatin silver print, 15.1 x 15.2 cm., purchased with a gift from Saundra B. Lane, a grant from the Trellis Fund, and the Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund, © Robert Adams, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, and Matthew Marks Gallery, New York.

Robert Adams, In a New Subdivision, Colorado Springs, Colorado,1969, Gelatin silver print, 15.2 x 15.2 cm., purchased with a gift from Saundra B. Lane, a grant from the Trellis Fund, and the Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund, © Robert Adams, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, and Matthew Marks Gallery, New York.

Robert Adams, Kerstin, Next to an Old-Growth Stump, Coos County, Oregon,1999-2003, Gelatin silver print, 29.7 x 22.5 cm., purchased with a gift from Saundra B. Lane, a grant from the Trellis Fund, and the Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund, © Robert Adams, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, and Matthew Marks Gallery, New York.

Robert Adams, Sitka spruce, Cape Blanco State Park, Curry County, Oregon,1999-2000, Gelatin silver print, 42.9 x 34.3 cm., Yale University Art Gallery, purchased with a gift from Saundra B. Lane, a grant from the Trellis Fund, and the Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund, © Robert Adams, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, and Matthew Marks Gallery, New York.

Robert Adams, Santa Ana Wash, Redlands, California, 1983, printed 1991, Gelatin silver print, 20 x 13.2 cm, Yale University Art Gallery, Purchased with a gift from Saundra B. Lane, a Grant from the Trellis Fund, and the janet and Simeon Brauin Fund, © Robert Adams, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, and Matthew Marks Gallery, New York.

Robert Adams, New development on a former citrus-growing estate, Highland, California, 1983, printed 1998, Gelatin silver print, 22.86 x 28.58 cm, Yale University Art Gallery, Purchased with a gift from Saundra B. Lane, a grant from the Trellis Fund, and the Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund, © Robert Adams, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, and Matthew Marks Gallery, New York.