This week’s Modern Art Notes Podcast features a conversation with Robert Adams, his first interview in five years.
Adams attended college in southern California in the mid-1950s and went back in the late 1970s to grapple with the mixture of beauty and environmental degradation (especially smog) for which southern California had become infamous. The result was a series called “Los Angeles Spring” in which smog and the decline of beauty are prominent and visually captivating. A selection from the series is included in the Yale University Art Gallery retrospective on view now. SFMOMA has a particularly substantial collection of “Los Angeles Spring” pictures.
Adams may be the greatest living American photographer. In the 1960s and 1970s he brought a new sensibility to photographing the most classic subject in American art, the land. By emphasizing man’s impact on Colorado and its suburbs in series such as “The New West” and “What We Bought,” Adams helped pioneer art that addressed our impact on the landscape and on the Earth. A major retrospective of his 46-year career is on view at the Yale University Art Gallery. Titled “The Place We Live,” it’s on view through October 28.
Image: Robert Adams, New development on a former citrus-growing estate, Highland, California (detail), from the series “Los Angeles Spring,” 1978-83. Collection of the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.