Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid
15 January – 20 May 2013
This is the first great retrospective in Europe on North American photographer Robert Adams (Orange, New Jersey, 1937), widely regarded as one of the most significant and influential chroniclers of the American West.
The Place We Live, A Retrospective Selection of Photographs will offer a unique opportunity to see Adam’s most important works. Each of Adam’s major projects will be represented, from his early pictures of quiet buildings and monuments erected by settlers of his native Colorado, continuing with selections from his acclaimed series The New West and Summer Nights, or his most recent images of beaches and migratory birds in the Pacific Northwest. Also, a wide range of texts taken from his writings, indispensable to understand his creative practice, will be included. The exhibition will feature nearly 300 photographs in black-and-white, dated between 1965 and 2007, proceeding from the Yale University Art Gallery, owner of the artist’s complete archive.
In a career spanning four decades, Adams has developed a photographic work known for its austerity. The show will trace through images the engagement between the artist and American life and his pursuit of redemptive light and beauty amidst mankind’s relationship with the natural world. Robert Adams: The Place We Live weaves together the diverse aspects of the photographer’s work into a cohesive epic of the American experience in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
Robert Adams was born in Orange, New Jersey, in 1937, and moved later with his family to Denver, Colorado. After receiving a PhD in California, he returned to Colorado in 1962 as an assistant professor of English at Colorado College. Disturbed by the rapid transformation of the Colorado Springs and Denver areas, Adams began photographing a cherished landscape newly replete with tract homes, highways, strip malls, and gas stations.
Since his beginnings as a photographer, photography publications have had a main position in his practice. Books such as Perfect Times, Perfect Places; Listening to the River and Pine Alley demonstrate that Adams has also been devoted to recording the glory that remains in the West. Additionally, he has written insightful and eloquent essays on the practice and goals of art, which have been collected in the volumes Beauty in Photography (1981) and Why People Photograph (1994). Since 1997 he has lived in Oregon, the landscape of which has been the subject of his last 20 years of work.