The new Industrial Parks near Irvine, California., 1974
8 7/8 x 10 in. (22.5 x 25.4 cm)
First Edition Thus. Oblong 4to. Printed Buckram in Dust Jacket. Photography Monograph. Near Fine/Near Fine. np (110pp), 51 duotone illustrations. Designed by Thomas F. Barrow. Text in English and German. "The New Industrial Parks Near Irvine, California" is Lewis Baltz' landmark typological study that virtually single-handedly gave birth to the "New Topographics" movement. It reproduces as a full page each of the fifty-one images that comprised the 1974 Castelli Graphics photographic print portfolio of the same name that was issued in an edition of forty with six artist's proofs. A bright, most handsome example of the uncommon 1974 first printing (cited on pages 298-299 of The Hasselblad Center's "The Open Book", and pages 228-229 of "The Book of 101 Books").
In 1975, the year he published his first book , ‘The new Industrial Parks near Irvine, California,’ Lewis Baltz was also included in a landmark exhibition at the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House called ‘New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape.’ Although some of the participants in that show managed to elude the label, Baltz--along with Robert Adams, Stephen Shore, Henry Wessel, Jr., and Bernd and Hilla Becher--was effectively branded, and ‘The New Industrial Parks’ was paired with Adams’ 1974 ‘The New West’ as the most cogent, concise, and rigorous New Topographics documents produced in America. The label stuck primarily because it was invented to describe exactly what California-born Baltz had been doing since the late ‘60s: photograph the American landscape as a dead zone. Tamed, flattened and sectioned off into building sites and real-estate opportunities, Baltz’s New West--most of it located in California’s vast suburban sprawl--had long since lost any memory of magnificence and promise. In their place was the alluring vacuum of anonymity (though that seems beside the point in pictures devoid of any human presence) and desolation so complete it was almost elegant. Baltz had honed in on that austere, unlikely beauty in his earlier series on tract homes, but he refined his vision for the Irvine series, which focuses on the fac¸ades of windowless office blocks and electronics factories, some still in construction on barren lots, others landscaped as perfunctorily as a toll plaza.... [Unlike] Ed Ruscha’s genuinely artless images of apartment buildings and parking lots, Baltz’s pictures are pointedly artful. The Irvine series, though (presumably) despairing of the industrial parks’ cold emptiness, can’t help but establish its link to minimalist painting and sculpture, particularly Donald Judd’s boxes and Carl Andre’s concrete blocks” (Vince Aletti, in Roth): Thomas F. Barrow. Signed and inscribed by L. Baltz.
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