The artworks about Hurricane Katrina that have received the most attention were by Robert Polidori and Mark Bradford, but as affecting as those works are, it’s tough to beat the gut-punch of Richard Misrach’s “Destroy This Memory” project. “Destroy This Memory” was a book-published series of photographs that built a narrative around words that were spray-painted on houses, cars and just about everything else in New Orleans after the storm. I reviewed it in two parts on Modern Art Notes: Here and here. Click through for many images from the series.
Misrach and I discussed the “Destroy This Memory” work at length on this week’s Modern Art Notes Podcast, which also spotlights Misrach’s return to Louisiana in “Petrochemical America,” a new book byMisrach and landscape architect Kate Orff. The book examines the industrialized Mississippi River corridor between Baton Rouge, La., and New Oreleans. The region is infamous for its density of petrochemical plants and for high rates of disease, particularly cancer.
“Petrochemical America” features Misrach’s pictures, commissioned by the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, and landscape architect Kate Orff’s Ecological Atlas, a series of narratives that establish a relationship between Misrach’s photographs, the region and man-made and ecological forces. An exhibition of Misrach’s and Orff’s work is on view now in the project room at Aperture’s New York gallery through October 6. Misrach’s ‘Cancer Alley’ pictures are on view at the High through October 7. (The book is also published by Aperture. Amazon lists it at $30 off.) This piece is part of Misrach’s ‘Desert Cantos’ series, selections from which are on view at New York’s Robert Mann Gallery through October 27.