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Cooling Tower, Zeche Mont Cenis, Herne, Ruhr Region, Germany

Bernd and Hilla Becher German

Not on view

Influenced by the formal rigor and conceptual methods of pre–World War II artists, such as August Sander and Walker Evans, Bernd and Hilla Becher were considered equals and fellow travelers by Minimalist sculptors, such as Carl Andre and Sol LeWitt. They treated their subject matter—the disappearing industrial architecture of the West—as “anonymous sculpture.” Here, a fabulous tower used to cool water at the Mont Cenis colliery rises from the ground like a modernist top hat made for a wooden giant. In 1978, just thirteen years after the Bechers visited the busy complex, it closed permanently, ending more than one hundred years of coal extraction on the site.

Cooling Tower, Zeche Mont Cenis, Herne, Ruhr Region, Germany, Bernd and Hilla Becher (German, active 1959–2007), Gelatin silver print

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