The Desert Cantos
Inaugurating our newest gallery space, Robert Mann Gallery is pleased to simultaneously celebrate our history by launching the exhibition program with an exemplary collection of photographs by Richard Misrach.
Spanning the first 25 years of Misrach's career, the exhibition will offer a rare opportunity to track the artistic development of one of the most significant living American photographers. The chronology of the exhibition begins with the luscious split-toned works realized with a flash shot into desert night scenes. Eerily beautiful, these works introduce many of the themes that would occupy Misrach in the years to come: staging the condition of aesthetic beauty of the natural world as mediated by human intervention in the landscape — in this case the photographer's own invasive flash. The terrible beauty, even sublimity, of the damage wrought on nature by man-made disasters forms the central theme of his Desert Cantos series. These concerns can be further traced through the Playboy series, Battleground Point, and the dramatic views from Misrach's porch tracking meteorological conditions around San Francisco Bay's Golden Gate.
These related bodies of work secured Misrach's place as the preeminent American photographer of his generation investigating issues surrounding landscape. Emerging out of the legacy of the New Topographics movement and informed by a strong ecological consciousness, but with a broad enough conceptual range to admit appropriation-like strategies, Misrach's work points to several of the creative lineages that define Robert Mann Gallery's exhibition program, from Ansel Adams to Joe Deal to Mary Mattingly. Having been the first gallery in New York to feature many of these series, it is with great pleasure that Robert Mann Gallery returns to these seminal works by Misrach to inaugurate this, our third venue.
The prints on display in the exhibition are drawn from a single private collection, likely the largest such group of works by Misrach, assembled over the course of several decades. Many of the works are from sold out editions and have been unavailable for some time.
Richard Misrach is among the most celebrated living photographers, with solo exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, and the High Museum in Atlanta, among many others. His works are featured in the collections of the major art institutions worldwide, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Musée d'Art Moderne in Paris, France, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Born in Los Angeles, California in 1949, he lives and works in Berkeley, California.