New York

Mark Klett

Pace/MacGill Gallery

The great landscape photographs made by Timothy O’Sullivan, A. J. Russell, and others on the expeditions that explored the American West after the Civil War revealed a desolate, awesomely beautiful land. The West depicted in these densely detailed images was a place of breathtaking panoramas, of huge, grotesquely misshapen boulders, of implausibly dramatic geological formations; it was a land that seemed to certify the Romantic idea of nature as a repository of transcendental forces locked in chthonic struggle. In a sense these photographs could be taken as proof of the very assumptions that underlay their esthetic.

It’s not surprising that Mark Klett should adopt the style of these images in his large black and white Western landscapes; in the late ’70s Klett was chief photographer on a project to remake many of the survey photographs taken by those 19th-century photographers, from exactly

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the May 1984 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.