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American Landscape and the Apocalyptic Sublime

August 28 – November 14, 2015
OPENING RECEPTION: August 28 | 6 – 8 p.m.
Preceded by a public lecture by David Maisel, 5 p.m.
Hess Family Lecture Hall

Curated by Lisa Tamiris Becker, Director, Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts, UAB, and Helmut Müller-Sievers, Director, Center for the Humanities and the Arts, Eaton Professor of Humanities, University of Colorado Boulder

An exhibition organized by the CU Art Museum, University of Colorado Boulder

DAVID MAISEL/BLACK MAPS surveys four chapters of the artist’s ongoing body of work titled Black Maps and features twenty-eight large-scale pigment prints from four series created between 1989 and 2007 including selections from The Lake Project, The Mining Project and American Mine, Terminal Mirage, and Oblivion.

David Maisel, Terminal Mirage 2, 2003; pigment print, 2012; 48 x 48 inches; A/P; Image courtesy of the artist; © David Maisel
The exhibition leads the viewer on a hallucinatory journey through landscapes in the American West that have been transformed through the physical and environmental effects of industrial-scale water diversion projects, open-pit mineral extraction, and urban sprawl. Maisel’s powerful aerial photographs exist as aesthetic and political archives documenting the impact of both human consumption and inhabitation. More than mere records, these photographs evoke sublime beauty and apocalyptic destruction, positioning Maisel at the forefront of a complex new approach to framing and interpreting issues of contemporary landscape and culture. Maisel’s mineral-based, painterly color prints transform poisonous human-altered landscapes into subjects and objects of extreme beauty while simultaneously unveiling the magnitude of hidden ecological devastation that punctuates the vast interior of the American West, a space that is often represented in the visual, cinematic, and literary arts as endless and eternal.

Lisa Tamiris Becker, Director, Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts

Maisel’s photographs are included in numerous public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Victoria & Albert Museum; the National Gallery of Art; the J. Paul Getty Museum; the Brooklyn Museum of Art; the Santa Barbara Museum of Art; the Yale University Art Gallery; the Nevada Museum of Art, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and many others. His work is the subject of a major monograph from Steidl, titled Black Maps: American Landscape and the Apocalyptic Sublime (2013). His four previous monographs include The Lake Project (2004), Oblivion (2006), Library of Dust (2008), and History’s Shadow (2011). Maisel is represented by Yancey Richardson Gallery, NY; Haines Gallery, San Francisco; Mark Moore Gallery, Los Angeles; Miller Yezesrki Gallery, Boston; and and Ivorypress Gallery, Madrid.

David Maisel, The Mining Project (Clifton AZ 7), 1989; pigment print, 2012; 48 x 48 inches; A/P; Image courtesy of the artist; © David Maisel David Maisel, The Lake Project 3, 2001; pigment print, 2012; 48 x 48 inches; A/P; Image courtesy of the artist; © David Maisel David Maisel, <em>Terminal Mirage 5</em>, 2003; pigment print, 2012; 48 x 48 inches; A/P; Image courtesy of the artist; © David Maisel


Main Image Credits: David Maisel, Terminal Mirage 2, 2003; pigment print, 2012; 48 x 48 inches; A/P; Image courtesy of the artist; © David Maisel