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Corso dei Lavoro, 1992

Lewis Baltz

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Lewis Baltz, 89-91 Sites of Technology, Lewis Baltz, 89-91 Sites of Technology

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Next to Bernd and Hilla Becher, Stephen Shore and Robert Adams, Lewis Baltz is one of the most prominent representatives of the New Topographics movement, which was seminal to the development of conceptual photography.
Baltz's photo series document the side effects of industrial civilization on the landscape, focusing on places that lie outside the bounds of canonical reception: urban wastelands, abandoned industrial sites, warehouses. His photographs uncover the correspondences between spatial forms that occur in the everyday world and advanced forms found in art. Baltz's strategies imply a reflexive knowledge of the history of photography in that they deploy the photographer as a teacher of seeing who makes things visible through reductive gestures. He already turned in the mid-1960s towards a reduced, minimalist-style aesthetic, orienting himself on artists in the fields of painting, sculpture and Land Art.
The Prototype Works and the 25-piece The Tract Houses are among his earliest projects, which broke with mainstream photographic traditions to reveal pronounced modernist references. Baltz manages in his work to extend the notion of the documentary; he "emphasizes the paradoxical position of photography within the art history of its time" (Sheryl Conkelton).

Baltz's minimalist and reduced image compositions explore the photographic style as a process, and refer not only to the art of photographers like Lee Friedlander or Robert Frank but also to painters and sculptors of his day such as Donald Judd, Frank Stella, Jasper Johns or Sol LeWitt. Convergences are to be found in his formal and aesthetic compositional patterns as well as in the content he fixes on, which Baltz subjects to a highly critical analysis, without however losing sight of essentials. The focus is on universal aspects instead of particularities, as expressed above all in his "Prototype Works".

Born in Newport, California, in 1945, Lewis Baltz studied photography at the Art Institute in San Francisco from 1966–69 and went on to hold various teaching positions and professorships in the 1970s. He still teaches today, at the Istituto Universitario di Architettura in Venice, where he lives and works, while also maintaining a home in Paris. At the young age of 26 he had his first solo exhibition of photographs, at Leo Castelli in New York. In 1975 Lewis Baltz then took part in the "New Topographics" exhibition at George Eastman House. Since then, his works have been featured in numerous international solo and group exhibitions, and they are included in various important collections worldwide. In 2010 Baltz's works will be on view at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, at the LACMA, Los Angeles. A solo exhibition follows at the Art Institute of Chicago, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC in 2011.
All German publications on Lewis Baltz were published by Steidl Verlag.

His photographic practice is a leading influence within the original section of contemporary landscape photography that traces the transitions from nature to regions altered by human life.

At the beginning of the 1990s his work took a surprising turn away from landscape photography and toward the phenomena of technology and nomadism, which he thinks of as connected to each other and to the vanishing of the world.

Art objects of this artist

Baltz, Lewis ◊ Houston B, 1972
Baltz, Lewis ◊ Houston B, 1972

Baltz, Lewis ◊ Houston A, 1972
Baltz, Lewis ◊ Houston A, 1972

Baltz, Lewis ◊ Paolo Alto, 1973
Baltz, Lewis ◊ Paolo Alto, 1973

Baltz, Lewis ◊ Fairfax, 1973
Baltz, Lewis ◊ Fairfax, 1973

Baltz, Lewis ◊ Tract House no. 1, 1971
Baltz, Lewis ◊ Tract House no. 1, 1971

Baltz, Lewis ◊ Tract House no. 21, 1971
Baltz, Lewis ◊ Tract House no. 21, 1971

Baltz, Lewis ◊ Corso dei Lavoro, 1992
Baltz, Lewis ◊ Corso dei Lavoro, 1992

Baltz, Lewis ◊ Corso dei Lavoro, 1992
Baltz, Lewis ◊ Corso dei Lavoro, 1992

Baltz Lewis  - Cooling Tank, 1989 - 1992
Baltz Lewis - Cooling Tank, 1989 - 1992

Baltz Lewis  - Office Unoccupied, 1989 - 1992
Baltz Lewis - Office Unoccupied, 1989 - 1992

Baltz Lewis  - CNET menton No. 2, 1998 - 1992
Baltz Lewis - CNET menton No. 2, 1998 - 1992

Baltz Lewis  - Air ducts, 1989 - 1992
Baltz Lewis - Air ducts, 1989 - 1992


Born in Newport, California
Lives and works in Paris and Venice

Study at the Art Institute of San Francisco and at the Claremont Graduate School

Instructor for Photography at the Pamona College (CA) and at the California Insitute of Arts, Valencia

Several guest professorships at European and US-american universities and art colleges

Professor at the Istituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia, Venice, Italy


Charles Pratt Memorial Award

US-UK Bicentennial Exchange Fellowship

John Simon Fellowship

1973 /1976
Stipendium des National Endowment for the Arts

BiographyExhibitionBibliographyArt objects


Current and past exhibition-dates and information
Sep 3rd, 2005
May 26th, 2003
TV/ Cinema/ Video
Dec 9th, 2003
Sep 1st, 2007
Sep 4th, 2010

More dates:

Selected Solo Exhibitions:

Lewis Baltz: Prototypes/Ronde de Nuit, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, September 2010 - January 2011 and National Gallery of Art, Washington, April - July 2011

Lewis Baltz / Donald Judd, Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne
The Park City Portfolio, UCR / California Museum of Photography, Riverside, USA

Lewis Baltz, Andrew Roth, New York
1989-91 Sites of Technology, Gallery Luisotti, Santa Monica, CA

89/91 Sites of Technology, Galleria Civica di Modena, Italy
Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne

Kunstverein Bremerhaven, Germany

Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne

Marburger Kunstverein
Canadian Center for Architecture, Montreal
Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT
University Art Museum, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ

"Was wäre wenn", Kunstverein Rüsselsheim, Germany
Norton Simon Museum of Art, Pasadena, CA

The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark

"Rule Without Exception", Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland

"Ronde de Nuit", Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris

"Rule Without Exception", New York Institute of Contemporary Art

Victoria und Albert Museum, London

Werkstatt für Photographie, Berlin

Corcoran Gallery of Art, Rochester

Castelli Graphics, New York

Selected Group Exhibitions:

Ruptures and Continuities: Photography Made after 1960 from the MFAH Collection, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, USA
The View from Here, SFMOMA San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, USA
New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape, Los Angeles County Museum of Art / LACMA, Los Angeles, USA
dentité(s)/ Territorialité(s), TRAFIC - FRac Haute-Normandie, Sotteville-lès-Rouen, France
Le paradis, ou presque : Los Angeles [1865-2008], Musée Nicéphore Niépce, Chalon-sur-Saone, France

"Into the Sunset, Photography's Image of the American West", Museum of Modern Art, New York
Life is stranger than fiction, FO.KU.S Foto Kunst Stadforum, Innsbruck, Austria
THIS SIDE OF PARADISE : LOS ANGELES (1865-2008), Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland
Seventies, le choc de la photographie américaine, BNF - Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris
Into the Sunset, Photography's Image of the American West, Museum of Modern Art, New York

"Universal Archive. The Condition of the Document and Modern Photographic Utopia", MACBA, Barcelona, Museum Colecçao Berardo
"Context: Double Down: Two Visions of Vegas (with Olivo Barbieri and Stephen Dean)", San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
"This Side of Paradise: Body and Landscape in L.A. Photographs", The Huntington Library, San
Marino, CA
"Jennifer Bornstein Selects From the Grunwald Collection", Hamme Museum, University of California, Los Angeles
"20th Century Photography", Chiba City Museum of Art, Chiba City, Japan
"Here Is Every: Four Decades of Contemporary Art", MOMA, New York
"D'Impossibles Trendezvous-Biennale de St. Denis", Paris
"American Photography les Annees 70", Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris

"Ingenuity", Calouste Golbenkian Center, Lisbon
"Life is Stranger Than Fiction", Albertina Museum, Vienna
"Views of Water", Yokohama Museum of Art, Japan
"Des fantomes et des anges", Musée d'Art Moderne, Villeneuve-d'Ascq
"Art for Yale: Collecting for the 21st Century", Yale University Art Museum, New Haven, CT

"TRANS EMILIA. Collection Linea di Confine", Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland and SK-Stiftung, Cologne
Tempo Moderno, Palazzo Ducale, Genova, Italy

STEIDL China Launch and Photography Exhibition , Timezone 8 Editions , Beijing, RC

The Altered Landscape: The Carol Franc Buck Collection , National Academy of Sciences, Washington, USA

"Cruel and Tender", Tate Modern, London und Museum Ludwig, Köln

"Geschichten von Verlangen und Macht", Museum für Fotografie Braunschweig

"Vom Landschaftsbild zur Spurensicherung", Museum Ludwig Köln

"Mirrors and Windows: American Photographie since 1960", Museum of Modern Art, New York

"Biennal Exhibition", Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

"New Topographics. Photographers of a Man-Altered Landscape", Georg-Eastman House, Rochster

Selected Public Collections:

Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada
Art Institute of Chicago
Baltimore Museum of Art
Bibliothéque Nationale, Paris
Cincinatti Art Museum
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden
Gorge Eastman House, Rochester, New York
Henie-Onstad Foundation, Oslo, Norway
International Center of Photography, New York
Kawasaki City Museum, Kawasaki, Japan
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo
Musei Civici, Reggio Emilia, Italy
Museum of Modern Art, New York
national Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan
Palazzo Fortuny, Venice, Italy
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

BiographyExhibitionBibliographyArt objects


Sep 3rd, 2005
LEWIS BALTZ - New Topographics
Apr 29th, 2006
Lewis Baltz: Tempo Moderno
Oct 27th, 2006
The Kunstverein Bremerhaven presents Lewis Baltz

More publications

Selected Publications:

Works (including 10 books), Steidl Publishers, 2010

89/91 Sites of Technology, Steidl Publishers, 2007

Lewis Baltz:
The Tract Houses
The Prototype Works
The New Industrial Parks Near Irvine, California
Steidl Publishers, 3 volumes in slipcase
With an essay by Sheryl Conkelton and an introduction by Adam D. Weinberg

"The Politics of Bacteria, Docile Bodies, Ronde de Nuit", Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

"Die Toten von Newport Beach", Museum für Fotografie Braunschweig

"Classiques du XXI siecle", ed. by Bernhard Lamarche-Vadel, Paris

"Rule Without Exception", Fotomuseum Winterthur, Zürich/Berlin/New York

"Lewis Baltz. Five Projects 1983-1988", Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
"Ronde de Nuit", Centre George Pompidou, Paris

"Candlestick Point", Tokyo

"San Quentin Point",Zwölftes Haus, Berlin und Editions la Differèrence, Paris

"Park City", Castelli Graphics und Artspace, New York

"Nevada", Castelli Graphics, New York

"Maryland", Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

"New Industrial Parks Near Irvine", California, Castelli Graphics, New York

BiographyExhibitionBibliographyArt objects

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