This installation of contemporary photography from The Met collection surveys the diverse ways in which contemporary artists have photographed landscape and the built world over the last half century. The exhibition opens with works from the late 1960s and early 1970s by artists in America and Europe who brought the lessons of Minimal and Conceptual art to bear on views of nature both raw and acculturated. Also included are a series of unique Polaroid prints made by Walker Evans in Hale County—the setting for his famous 1930s photographs of Alabama sharecroppers—near the end of his life.
Images from the 1980s and 1990s attest to a swing away from the "deskilling" associated with radical '60s art making and toward a new interest in technically assured large-scale prints that nevertheless incorporated earlier lessons from Land art, Conceptualism, and other postwar avant-garde movements.
The exhibition concludes with recently made works—including Wolfgang Staehle's mesmerizing piece Eastpoint (September 15, 2004) (2004–6), which projects a 24-hour cycle of more than 8,000 still images, synchronized to real time, of the same Hudson River that inspired such American painters as Thomas Cole and Frederic Edwin Church.
Jean-Marc Bustamante (French, born 1952). Tableau (T30.78), 1978, printed 2000. Silver dye bleach print, 40 x 51 in. (101.6 x 129.5 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Jennifer and Joseph Duke Gift, 2000 (2000.493.2)