A retrospective exhibit of more than 200 black-and-white photographs spanning 45 years of Robert Adams’ career, called “The Place We Live,” is …
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A retrospective exhibit of more than 200 black-and-white
photographs spanning 45 years of Robert Adams’ career, called “The
Place We Live,” is on display at the Denver Art Museum through Jan.
2, the first United States venue for the show.
This important American photographer, who lived and taught in
Colorado for nearly 30 years, has an ongoing love/hate relationship
with the contemporary Western landscape.
His subtle, perfectly composed gelatin silver prints are so
finely detailed that the museum supplies magnifiers for patrons to
study them closely, although I’m not convinced they are needed.
These photos are so precisely detailed that every object is
clear, sometimes with dramatic lighting, sometimes with that
washed-out look a dusty road has at high noon.
Prints are grouped by location and vary from his quiet
“Listening to the River” series to angry commentary about clear
cutting lumber in Oregon, his home since 1997. His images of old
growth stumps and depleted forests make a viewer very sad.
Small towns with filling station, grain elevator, modest home or
trailer park are simple statements of “This is what I see,” and
contrast greatly with the dramatic, sometimes gaudy Western
landscapes that show up on calendars and post cards.
The whole gallery seems calm and quiet. Allow time to
contemplate what he has to say. There’s a clear message.
While some images were taken in California and Oregon, many
reflect his years in Colorado, where he taught English at Colorado
College and became disturbed by the rapid transformation of
Colorado Springs and the Denver area.
“The pictures record what we purchased, what we paid and what we
could not buy,” Adams wrote. “They document a separation from
ourselves, and in turn from the natural world that we professed to
Yale University’s purchase of more than 1,000 images, his life’s
work, reinforces the regard he has found in the art world. Yale has
assembled this collection of 244 prints and published several
books, available in the museum shop.
Related programming includes a four-week course, “Looking at
Photography” Oct. 9-30 with DAM curator of Photography Eric
Paddock, on Sundays from 1 to 2:30 p.m. ($75). Reservations
www.denverartmuseum.org/adult programs. Also:“ Takes on the
Changing West” will present regional authors, poets, thinkers on
Thursdays, Oct. 6-20.
The exhibit is included in museum admission.
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