Friday, April 16, 2010

James Welling puts five questions to Stephen Shore


I came to photography in fits and starts. In the early 1970s, I was entranced by Minimal art. I was particularly interested in Carl Andre’s Quincy Book, published in 1973. Andre hired a photographer to take pictures of his hometown, Quincy, Massachusetts. The book records situations that are isomorphic with Andre’s work: piles of things, quarries, roads. Quincy Book is, above all, a sculptural view of the world, and it is an extraordinarily well-observed set of pictures. I began to think about Andre’s book in relation to the restaging of "New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape," which opened at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) last month. Ed Ruscha’s work is cited as a touchstone for the photographers in the show. Fair enough. But for me, raised on the East Coast and looking intently at landscapes, Quincy resonated in ways Ruscha’s pieces did not.


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