Los Angeles
© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
2000.6
People
Andreas Gursky, German (Leipzig, Germany born 1955)
Title
Los Angeles
Classification
Photographs
Work Type
photograph
Date
1998
Culture
German
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Chromogenic photograph on paper, face-mounted to acrylic
Technique
Chromogenic print
Dimensions
205 x 360 cm (80 11/16 x 141 3/4 in.)
Provenance
Matthew Marks Gallery, New York, NY, From the Artist, Sold to Fogg Art Museum, 2000.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Purchase through the generosity of Edythe and Eli Broad, The Broad Art Foundation, and the Friends of the Busch-Reisinger Museum
Accession Year
2000
Object Number
2000.6
Division
Modern and Contemporary Art
Contact
am_moderncontemporary@harvard.edu
Descriptions
Commentary
A spectacular nightime aerial view of Los Angeles, titled just that: "Los Angeles". The work is typical of Gursky's recent panoramic (usually overhead) views of a familiar city, region, or commercial site [e.g. a Prada showroom or the Tokyo Stock Exchange], which manage to vividly and instantaneously project an almost caricatural gestalt image (the twinkling spead of L.A. against the dark, night sky; the sleek designer colors, lighting and streamlined cases of a Prada display]. Aside from their formidable scale, and incredibly printed surfaces, there are several aspects of Gursky's work that I find especially impressive. First, he has found a way to capture the particulars of sites that should be all rights read simply as "global"--stock markets; designer boutiques; urban corporate architecture, legislative assembly halls; highway exit ramps and overhead bridges--and to portray them as at once regionally distinct and international. Second, his images manage to stop just short of caricature, or cliche, so as to seem inevitable. [One thinks: "This is exactly what L.A. looks like, flying in at night," not, "What a cliche."] Third, Gursky's images appear at once "taken" (as in straight photography and in the Johnsian sence of that word) and as painstakingly "rendered." These attributes, or more specifically the last two, Gursky's capacity to transform a cliche image into an inevitable image and to produce pictures that seem both directly photographed, or taken, and intensely subjective and painterly in the manipulation of their surface detail, led to the organization of an exhibition, "Landmark Pictures," featuring the work of Gursky and, perhaps surprisingly, Ed Ruscha.
Publication History

Peter Nisbet and Joseph Koerner, The Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, ed. Peter Nisbet, Harvard University Art Museums and Scala Publishers Ltd. (Cambridge, MA and London, England, 2007), pp. 12, 13

Stephan Wolohojian, ed., Harvard Art Museum Handbook, Harvard Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 2008), p. 253, ill.

Exhibition History

Landmark Pictures: Ed Ruscha/Andreas Gursky, Sert Gallery, Cambridge, 06/08/2000 - 07/16/2000

Subjects and Contexts

Collection Highlights

Verification Level

3 - Good. Object is well described and information is vetted