This week’s Modern Art Notes Podcast features a rare interview with Robert Adams.
Among the topics Adams and I discuss is his late, great 1999-2003 series “Turning Back,” which examines clear-cutting in the Pacific Northwest. Among the photographs we specifically discussed is this one, which I’d consider one of the best pictures taken in the United States in the last couple decades. On the program I asked Adams if it was intended as an explicit crucifixion picture, an elegy for a decimated, eradicated forest… and his answer surprised me.
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, Coos County, Oregon (detail), from the series “Turning Back,” 1999-2003. Collection of the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.