For four decades Richard Misrach has been one of the most significant and influential photographers of the American landscape. He is perhaps best known for his monumental, ongoing epic, Desert Cantos, a multifaceted study of our political, cultural, and environmental relationship to the natural world. The exhibition, on view at Fraenkel Gallery from July 13 – August 19, 2017, marks the premiere of Premonitions and The Writing on the Wall, two new chapters in the Desert Cantos project.
Made over the past year, Misrach’s recent photographs are a direct response to the highly charged political climate and accompanying rhetoric of hostility felt across America today. In his travels through desolate areas of southern California, Arizona, and Nevada, the artist found countless signs of despair, protest, and anger scrawled on derelict buildings and rocky outcrops. His images of spray-painted graffiti record messages of desperation, hatred, grief, and hopelessness for the country’s future. The new work builds on Misrach’s photographs of related inscriptions made during the Obama years, images that now can be seen as unwitting omens of the abrupt shift in public discourse that was to come.
“In our age of relentless posting on social media, it is remarkable that people choose abandoned homes and remote rock formations as canvases for political expression,” says Misrach. “These are the hieroglyphics of our time.”
The Writing on the Wall is accompanied by a 16-page publication illustrating 25 photographs from the series. This artist’s book will be available free of charge to visitors during the exhibition.
Fifty percent of all exhibition proceeds will be donated to Human Rights Watch.