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Ugo Rondinone, Seven Magic Mountains, Las Vegas, Nevada, 2016. Photo by Gianfranco Gorgoni. Courtesy of Art Production Fund and Nevada Museum of Art.

Gianfranco Gorgoni (1941–2019)

The Italian photographer Gianfranco Gorgoni, who was the premiere documenter of major Land art works—including Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty, 1970, and Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s Running Fence, 1976—has died at age seventy-seven. Born in Rome, Gorgoni moved to the US in 1968 to produce a photographic essay and stayed after a chance encounter with Robert Rauschenberg.

In the 1970s, Gorgoni captured the portraits of artists including Ellsworth Kelly, Claes Oldenburg, Agnes Martin, Andy Warhol, Alfred Leslie, and others, many of which were included in his book The New Avant-Garde: Issues for the Art of the Seventies (1972) and Beyond the Canvas: Artists of the Seventies and Eighties (1985). He worked as a reporter for the New York Times Magazine, NewsweekLife, and Time, among other publications, and went on to photograph works by Nancy Holt, Walter De Maria, Michael Heizer, Ugo Rondinone, Charles Ross, and Richard Serra.

Leo Castelli staged four solo shows dedicated to the artist between 1972 and 1996, and his oeuvre was the subject of a solo exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Art in 1978. His work was also included in the Forty-Fifth Venice Biennale (1993) and can be found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the J. Paul Getty Museum. The Nevada Museum of Art will open “Gianfranco Gorgoni: Land Art Photographs,” an exhibition of his landscape images, in October.

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