This week’s Modern Art Notes Podcast features a rare conversation with Robert Adams.
One of Adams’s artist heroes is Dorothea Lange, the California-based photographer who made social inequality the subject of her life’s work. (Little-known fact: She started out as a society portraitist in post-World War I San Francisco.) Adams thinks Lange is perpetually underrated and that she was a photographer on par with Carleton Watkins, Timothy O’Sullivan and other American greats. Adams and I talked about Lange, his admiration for her work and life, and her place in the firmament on this week’s program.
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: Dorothea Lange, JR Butler, President of the Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union, Memphis, Tennessee, 1938. Collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.