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The Outlands


11. 10. 2022

Text By: David Zwirner

November 10th - December 17, 2022

525 & 533 West 19th Street

New York, New York

Taken between 1970 and 1973, the images in The Outlands come from the same expansive photographic project from which Eggleston and the famed photography curator John Szarkowski selected the images for the artist’s groundbreaking 1976 exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, as well as the related and widely celebrated publication William Eggleston’s Guide. As Robert Slifkin writes of these images, “Throughout the series, the slow and unceasing forces of nature make their mark upon rusting cars and paint-chipped buildings, as well as on the weather-worn billboards and election posters that are sometimes obscured and surrounded by encroaching vines. In many of the pictures, a responsive balance is struck between the developed yet degraded landscape and the unsullied and ever-changing sky. Sometimes the irrepressible presence of the firmament is aligned with mundane objects and humble signs of human enterprise.… Other times, as when Eggleston occasionally captures the sky reflected in the puddles of rutted country roads, discolored parking lots, and suburban swimming pools, the celestial realm is brought, mirror like—even photograph-like—down to the ground.”

A pioneer of color photography, Eggleston helped elevate the medium to the art form that it is recognized as today. The works that will be on view exemplify Eggleston’s singular ability to visualize a distinctive encounter that nevertheless encapsulates the qualities of a more general time and place through the subtleties of color, surface, and light. Some images recall rural colorist landscapes from the nineteenth century, while others have an almost subdued yet ponderous visual quality reminiscent of the paintings of Edward Hopper. The formal sophistication and pictorialism of these works is complemented by the way Eggleston evocatively manifests the unique character of the American postwar visual and material landscape. Images of gas stations, bars, burger joints, and drive-ins offer a sociological meditation on the typology of the built environment of the American South while also highlighting the presence and individuality of the people who inhabit these spaces.

For more images and INFORMATION CLICK HERE.


TEXT: David Zwirner

ILLUSTRATION / Photos: William Eggleston


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