Walead Beshty

  • Walead Beshty

    DESPITE THE CITY’S PLACID EXTERIOR, apocalypse is LA’s perennial leitmotif. Gazing down from Mount Shasta toward the distant Los Angeles basin, Clarence King, the first head of the United States Geological Survey, mused that in the California lowlands, “men and women are dull, unrelieved; they are all alike. The eternal flatness of landscape, the monotony of endlessly pleasant weather, the scarcely varying year, the utter want of anything unforeseen and the absence of all surprise in life, are legible upon their quiet uninteresting faces”—a quiescent veneer that, for King, concealed the “

  • Stephen Shore

    Developing out of his earlier experiments with Pop and Conceptualist practices, Stephen Shore’s “American Surfaces” signaled a shift away from the theatrical anomie of late ’60s American street photography. Photographing with a miniature 35 mm camera on road trips in 1972 and 1973, Shore documented nearly everything and everyone he encountered, producing perhaps the most stylistically expressive and hauntingly autobiographical work of his career, while laying the foundation for the stoic large-format images that would dominate his oeuvre over the next decade. The resulting


    AT THE AGE OF TWENTY-FIVE, STEPHEN SHORE SET OFF BY CAR FROM HIS native Manhattan and headed west. The year was 1972, and the America he discovered though the lens of his 35 mm range finder, a vast network of windswept back roads and empty downtowns, would inspire him to crisscross the country some ten more times during the decade that followed. By his second outing a year later, Shore had traded in the 35 millimeter for a 4 x 5 (a slower, more exacting large-format camera, later replaced by an even bulkier 8 x 10), initiating the seminal document of the American vernacular that would come to