Denver Art Museum Presents Robert Adams Retrospective: Robert Adams: The Place We Live Opens September 25, 2011
“We’re excited to host the work of one of the foremost photographers of our time,” said Eric Paddock, the DAM’s curator of photography. “Robert Adams’s striking yet quiet photos provoke thought about current economic, political and environmental issues Westerners confront every day. We think visitors will see something very familiar in his work.”
Since becoming a photographer in the mid-1960s, Adams has been widely regarded as one of the most significant and influential chroniclers of the American West. Adams’s photographs and writing insist that the realities of everyday landscapes are as beautiful as idealized scenes from nature. They ask questions about the ways people change and interact with nature, and what it means to live simply and quietly in today’s world. This commitment earned Adams prominence in photography’s “New Topographics” movement of the late 20th century and lends authority to his ongoing work. His photographs of Colorado suburban growth and clear cut forests in the Pacific Northwest, for example, express shock at mainstream social and economic values.
“The Denver Art Museum is pleased to be the first US venue for The Place We Live, showcasing our continued commitment to our photography program,” said Christoph Heinrich, Frederick and Jan Mayer Director of the DAM. “Colorado has a rich photography history and we’re excited to have visitors engage with these artworks that provide a narrative to the American experience and take a fresh look at their surroundings.”
Featuring more than 200 gelatin silver prints, The Place We Live weaves together four decades of Adams’s work into a cohesive, epic narrative of American experience in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Each of the photographer’s major projects is represented, from early pictures of quiet buildings and monuments erected by prior settlers of his native Colorado to his most recent images of forests and migratory birds in the Pacific Northwest.
Born in Orange, New Jersey, in 1937, Robert Adams moved with his family from Madison, Wisconsin, to Denver, Colorado, at the age of 15. He earned a doctorate degree from the University of Southern California and, intent on pursuing an academic career, returned to Colorado in 1962 as an assistant professor of English at Colorado College. Disturbed by the rapid transformation of the Colorado Springs and Denver areas, Adams began photographing a landscape transformed by tract housing, highways, strip malls and gas stations. “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 love.” Since 1997, he has lived and worked in Oregon.
Robert Adams: The Place We Live, A Retrospective Selection of Photographs, 1964-2009 is accompanied by a fully illustrated, three-volume publication published by the Yale University Art Gallery and distributed by Yale University Press. A second publication, What Can We Believe Where?: Photographs of the American West, 1965-2005, published by the Yale University Art Gallery and distributed by Yale University Press, presents a sequence of over 100 images culled from Robert Adams’s entire body of work, as well as an introduction by the photographer and an afterword by the exhibition curators.
Denver Art Museum
The Denver Art Museum is located on 13th Avenue between Broadway and Bannock Streets in downtown Denver. Open Tuesday-Thursday, Saturday-Sunday 10am-5pm, Friday 10am-8pm; closed Mondays, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. General admission is free on the first Saturday of each month. For more information, visit www.denverartmuseum.org or call (720) 865-5000.