• Chromogenic Colour Print
  • Edition 14/25
  • Numbered, titled, signed dated on lower margin 
  • Dated: 1983
  • Printed: 1986
  • Image: 18 x 22 7/8 inches; sheet: 19 3/4 x 24 inches
  • Image: 46 x 58.3 cm; sheet: 50.3 x 61 cm
  • Condition: Very good. Minor fading typical for a colour print of this age, slight cockling at sides, minor creasing at corners
  • Framed; 24.5 x 29.5 inches, Blonde wood with plexiglass
  • Provenance: Private collection, purchased in California
  • Vintage print

The Artist:  Richard Misrach (American, 1949-)

Richard Misrach was born in Los Angeles in 1949 and received a BA in psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. He helped popularize large format color photography in the 1970s and 80s and is best known for Desert Cantos, his ongoing study of the American desert and man’s relation to it.

The project presents a variety of images, from traditional landscapes to the space shuttle landing, which Misrach considers a singular work, with each canto acting as the equivalent of a (book) chapter heading. Misrach also works in a social documentary style, which can be seen in his Louisiana photographs of Cancer Alley, the corridor between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In addition, he also has taken pictures of the desert sky; the Golden Gate Bridge; the beaches, water, and jungles of Hawaii; Stonehenge; and the Pyramids.

Misrach’s photographs are held by the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Museum of Modern Art; the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among others.
                                                                    Mary O'Donnell Hulme


Misrach, Richard. Bravo 20: The Bombing of the American West. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990.
Misrach, Richard. Chronologies. San Francisco: Fraenkel Gallery, 2005.
Misrach, Richard. Desert Cantos. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1987.
Misrach, Richard. Destroy This Memory. New York: Aperture, 2010.
Misrach, Richard. Golden Gate. New York: Aperture, 2005.


The Story:  This print is from the Desert Cantos II series, Misrach's most famous series. 

"I began the Desert Cantos project around 1979. For over a decade, I have been searching the deserts of the American West for images that suggest the collision between “civilization” and nature. 

The “canto” idea is actually very simple. It’s a structural term meaning the subsection of a long song or poem. Throughout the history of literature it has been repeatedly used. Most people are familiar with Ezra Pound’s epic poem, The Cantos, or Dante’s Inferno, which is subdivided into cantos.

I found that, photographically, my work in the desert naturally broke into subseries. Each subseries, or canto, was independent, but related to the others. Combining the cantos created an epic, comprehensive relationship. Now I’m on “Desert Canto XIV.”

I tend to work on several cantos simultaneously. I give them numbers upon completion, instead of when they are initiated, because they can change significantly as they evolve. From one to fourteen, the cantos are: “The Terrain”; “The Event”; “The Flood”; “The Fires”; “The War (Bravo 20)”; “The Pit”; “Desert Seas”; “The Event II”; “Project W-47 (The Secret)”; “The Test Site”; “The Playboys”; “Clouds (non-equivalents)”; “The Inhabitants”; and “The Visitors.”

(Issue 14, Aperture Photography App)


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Item No. CA201908075