Color photography was once an outcast from the world of fine art photography, excluded from galleries and ignored by collectors. In the 1970s, due to the efforts of pioneering artists like Richard Misrach, color finally started to gain widespread appreciation.
Misrach’s stunning large-scale landscape photographs (in brilliant color) are now recognized as classics. His ongoing Desert Cantos series contrasts traces of human life with expansive, alien landscapes, while On the Beach manages to make a Hawaiian vacation look apocalyptic. A twenty-five-year survey of Misrach’s work is up through October 27 at Robert Mann Gallery.
Misrach’s “Cancer Alley” series is more straightforwardly alarmist. It documents a stretch of the Mississippi River Corridor known for petrochemical factories and unusually high cancer rates, pointing towards the global crisis of dependence on petroleum and petroleum products. The series is part of Petrochemical America, a book from Aperture with a corresponding show at Aperture Gallery.
Richard Misrach: The Desert Cantos is on view through October 27 at Robert Mann Gallery in New York. The book Petrochemical America (a collaboration with landscape architect Kate Orff) is available from Aperture, and an accompanying exhibition is on view through October 6 at Aperture Gallery. Misrach is represented by Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco, Marc Selwyn Fine Art in Los Angeles, and Pace/MacGill Gallery in New York.
Misrach and Kate Orff discuss Petrochemical America on Aperture’s blog.