Gursky’s retrospective at New York’s Museum of Modern Art this spring (now showing in Chicago) was just the latest achievement by this German photographer, ranked among the half-dozen most important art photographers now working. Galassi, MOMA’s chief photography curator, does an excellent job of tracing the artist’s influences and development in his engaging essay. Moreover, the illustrations of work by his mentors, especially Bernd and Hilla Becher, as well as of his own early work, commercial work, and school projects, are highly informative. The 59 large-format plates (48 of them from the 1990s) forming the catalog that follows concentrate on his mature themes: massive and empty modern buildings, crowded public spaces filled with frenetic, impersonal activity, and landscapes that most often look at a built topology. The combination of his unique, painterly use of the camera and his ability to capture the beehive of contemporary society (whether the images are occupied or not) rightfully have earned him his current position. This best available overview is highly recommended for all libraries. Eric Bryant, “Library Journal”
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