Water Towers

Bernd and Hilla Becher German
Bernd Becher German
Hilla Becher German

Not on view

This grand, sixteen-part typology was acquired by The Met in 1980, its first acquisition of photographs by the Bechers. At the time, the artists’ aesthetic practice and seemingly prosaic, repetitive ethos were somewhat bewildering to both traditional photography collectors and public institutions. By the decade’s end, however, the Bechers had become among the first photographers to bridge the divide between photography and the rest of the visual arts. In 1988, when these water towers were first published, the English architecture critic Reyner Banham noted: "The presence of human beings may have been relentlessly excluded, but the handiwork of men is everywhere visible."

Water Towers, Bernd and Hilla Becher (German, active 1959–2007), Gelatin silver prints

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