The catalogue for an exhibition of work by Bernd and Hilla Becher, held at Die Neue Sammlung (State Museum of Applied Art), Munich, March 6 – April 16, 1967. This was the first public institution exhibition of the photographers’ typological studies of industrial architecture. Previously, they had had a show at the Dusseldorf Academy of Fine Arts and only three gallery appearances. This is also the first catalogue of their work to be published and only the third time their work had appeared in print. Includes grids of lime kilns, gas tanks, water towers, conveyor scaffolds, processing plants, coal mineheads, cooling towers, blast furnaces, framework houses, and warehouses. Photographs by Bernd and Hilla Becher; essay by Wend Fischer.
In December 1968, the American artist Robert Smithson embarked on a field trip to the huge industrial complex in the Ruhr district of Germany. His local guides were the Dsseldorf-based artist duo of Bernd and Hilla Becher, and Konrad Fischer, in whose Dsseldorf gallery Smithson was scheduled to exhibit. The Bechers had begun their own project of photographing the vernacular industrial architecture of Northern Europe in the early 1960s, and had already spent several months photographing at Oberhausen as well as at adjacent industrial sites. The different series of photographs made by Smithson and the Bechers of the same site foreground their respective preoccupations with the industrial landscape and the process of production and entropy, with systems and their inevitable dissolution. Their contrasting bodies of work embody alternate perspectives on time: the Bechers’ sense of historical time and Smithson’s of the geological. Though formally divergent, each artist’s work comprises a radical rethinking of classical notions of beauty and landscape. Neither the Bechers’ typologies nor Smithson’s projects were possible without prospecting in neglected parts of the landscape, whose distressed state refuted the relationship between history and progress.
The catalogue for an exhibition of the Becher’s grids of mineheads, watertowers, blast furnaces, framework houses, cooling towers, etc. The show opened at the Venice Biennale in 1990 and later traveled to Germany and the US. Photographs by Bernd and Hilla Becher; preface by Klaus Bussman.
Bernd & Hilda Becher are among the most influential artists of our time. The Bechers initiated their work on industrial heritage threatened with destruction at the end of the 50s. They set up what was to become one of the largest industrial archival funds of our time. For the first time, the work of the two German photographers is resented from a historical perspective through the printed matter; thus allowing for a comprehension of the different stages in their practice, notably the shift from a conception of the work identified by a unique photograph to a representation of the work as a series of images, or typology.
For nearly four decades this renowned German husband-and-wife team of photographers has been paying tribute to the industrial landscape. Their work ranks internationally among the most significant achievements in the field of industrial photography. The 64 images in this collection comprise a typical cross-section of the Bechers’ work. Captured in stark black and white, the structures here — American and European grain elevators, gas tanks, blast furnaces, water towers — are impeccably presented in square, frontal images which highlight their architectural complexities as well as their otherworldly presence upon a vast horizontal landscape. Making no attempts to glamorize their subjects, and offering no visual commentary, the Bechers nevertheless manage to capture the eerily beautiful austerity of these familiar structures. Their unadorned approach which portrays leaden skies and excludes any organic presence, enables viewers to study and appreciate the endless variations of industrial architecture, structures which although an integral part of the world’s landscape, are often overlooked.
Description: Yet Untitled collects together a dedicated selection of contemporary photography. Presented in a uniquely straightforward fashion, with strong nods to the grid, this volume presents work with a range of concerns and content. Included are photographers who focus on issues of documentation, such as the “Becherklasse” (Bernd & Hilla Becher and their former students Candida Hafer, Thomas Ruff and Thomas Struth); those who deal in the subjective, following in the wake of Otto Steinert; and those who have grouped themselves around Michael Schmidt since the early 80s. Nan Goldin, Lee Friedlander, Bettina Rheims, Tom Wood and Hiroshi Sugimoto are just some of the international artists featured. Brought together over the last seven years by Hannover-based traffic planner Bernd F. Knne, the work in Yet Untitled offers a fascinating overview of recent trends in American and European photography. Accompanying essays and an interview with the collector explore the historical development of contemporary photography on both sides of the Atlantic.
Published on the occasion of the major 2004 retrospective exhibition, Axel Hütte: Terra Incognita, at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid. The catalogue covers key works from 1982-2003, including his portrait typologies. From the publisher: “Axel Hütte, born in Essen in 1951 and a member of Bernd Becher’s master class at the Düsseldorf Academy of Art, is one of the group of younger German photographers who, in the past twenty years, have established a firm presence on the international art scene. Early on, Hütte has been fascinated by landscape photography, albeit a broad theme but one in which his particular approach has spawned an almost programmatic portrayal of the confrontation between the city and the countryside. Between pure ‘pieces of nature’ (mist-shrouded mountain peaks, panoramic jungles and deserts, ocean horizons and night skies) and their opposite (oppressive street vistas that are quite literally dead-ends), Hütte repeatedly moves in some grey zone that is a neither/nor: industrial estates on the edge of town, company buildings in green belts, farmed land, seen through the concrete pillars of new commercial buildings…” Axel Hütte’s focus is the confrontation between city and countryside, between foggy mountains, deserts, sea horizons or night skies and uneasy no-exit streets.”
Thomas Schütte is a catalog of works by this contemporary German artist. Schütte studied under Gerhard Richter, Benjamin Buchloh, and Bernd and Hilla Becher at the Düsseldorf Academy in the 1970s. He comes from that strong conceptual background, but as his career matured the emotional content of his work evolved and became much more potent. Schütte’s work is incredibly eclectic: ceramic figures, architectural models, drawings, outdoor sculptures, photographs, and installations. A recent work, Big Spirits (1996), is a collection of larger-than-life-size aluminum figures that seem to be morphing before one’s eyes. They are at once ghost, human, and machine. Also riveting is The Innocents (1994), a series of photographs of the heads of handmade figurines, and United Enemies, A Play in Ten Scenes (1993)–offset lithographs, also of figurines wrapped in Schütte’s clothes. His watercolors are beautiful, ranging from drawings of fruit to portraits of women. Whatever the project, Schütte is tapped in to a particular humanity. Included in the book are essays by Julian Heynen and Angela Vettese, an interview with James Lingwood, and an essay by Roman philosopher Seneca, chosen by the artist. There is also a story by Schütte–printed in English for the first time.
This exhibition catalogue, published by the Musée d’Art Modern of Paris in 1981, includes works by Bill Beckley, Hilla and Bernd Becher, Christian Boltanski, Victor Burgin, James Collins, Chérif and Silvie Defraoui, Stefan de Jaeger, Jan Dibbets, Tom Drahos, Hans Peter Feldmann, Hamish Fulton, Paul-Armand Gette, Jochen Gerz, Luigi Ghirri, Gibert and George, Jan Groover, David Haxton, John Hillard, Nicolas Hondrogen, Les Krims, Edmund Kuppel, Jean Le Gac, Barbara and Michael Leisgen, Annette Messager, Giuseppe Penone, Richard Prince, Arnulf Reiner, Edward Ruscha, Sarkis, Cindy Sherman, Michael Snow, Eve Sonneman, Bruno Stevens, William Wegman, and Michele Zaza.
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”
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
Le Magasin, the National Contemporary Art Center of Grenoble, was an early and excellent model of the rehabilitation of an abandoned industrial site for contemporary art. It is now emerging from a secondary period of renovation, and this book celebrates its renewal, its history and its ongoing role in expanding the domain of curatorial experimentation. Among those projects presented here, many of which have never before been published, are works from globally renowned artists including Vito Acconci, John Baldessari, Bernd & Hilla Becher, Joseph Beuys, Alighiero Boetti, Barbara Kruger, Thomas Ruff and Sol Le Witt. Le Magasin 1986-2006 is not only an overview of a seminal institution and a wide-ranging reference book on contemporary art, but also a meditation on the evolution of the relationships between the institution and the artist.
The focus of the NRW-Forum exhibition is on Stephen Shore, a key figure in the US New Color Photography movement.The first part of the exhibition, which is based on the New York Aperture Foundation’s Biographical Landscape retrospective, will provide a comprehensive overview of Shore’s ground-breaking work in the 1970s and 1980s. From an early stage, the work of the US New Color Photography movement influenced the students on Bernd Becher’s photography course at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf, a course which was created in 1976. The second part of the exhibition will explore the innovative motifs that Becher’s class developed in the exciting area between their own photographic tradition and that of the US tradition. Participating artists: “Stephen Shore, Bernd und Hilla Becher, Thomas Struth, Volker Döhne, Axel Hütte, Candida Höfer, Thomas Ruff, Tata Ronkholz, Wendelin Bottländer, Andreas Gursky, Martin Rosswog, Andi Brenner, Simone Nieweg, Boris Becker, Kris Scholz, Stefan Schneider, Claudia Fährenkemper, Claus Goedicke, Matthias Koch, Laurenz Berges, Elger Esser, Miles Coolidge, Bernhard Fuchs”
This artist’s book by the influential but deliberately elusive Dusseldorf conceptual photographer features a series of pictures of a woman putting on her makeup. A peer of Gerhard Richter, Bernd & Hilla Becher and Joseph Beuys, Feldmann helped pave the way for artists like Richard Prince, Sherrie Levine and Christopher Williams.
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