“Robert Adams: From the Missouri West,” on view at the Princeton University Art Museum until June 6, is the first exhibition of a group of recently acquired photographs selected from the acclaimed 1980 Aperture publication of the same name.
After gaining wide notice for his photographic exploration of the suburbs surrounding Denver and Colorado Springs, Colo., Adams turned his camera to the open spaces that had met the West’s first explorers and settlers. No longer untouched or heroic, however, “From the Missouri West” traces more than a century of impact and abuse that has extended to nearly every corner of a land that had once seemed limitless.
“This exemplary group of images captures Adams reaching his maturity as a photographer and a printmaker, and is arguably his most influential body of work,” commented Toby Jurovics, associate curator of photography. “We are offered a landscape that is often spare and depressing, one that will not allow for the dramatic gesture, and yet these prints reveal a sense of light and careful observation that remind us not just of what has been lost, but that discovery is still possible.”
Adams’ photographs are being exhibited along with several recent acquisitions by William Bell, Timothy H. O’Sullivan and A.J. Russell, who were among the Nineteenth Century landscape photographers that Adams looked to for insight and inspiration when he began From the Missouri West.
This major acquisition of 28 photographs, 25 of which are on view, joins a substantial body of Adams’ work already in the museum’s collection, surveying the artist’s career from 1968 through 1999.
Gallery talks by Jurovics will be offered on April 2 and 4.
Princeton University Art Museum is located in the center of the Princeton University campus, next to Prospect House and Gardens. For information, 609-258-3788 or princetonartmuseum.org.