By Holly Markovitz Goldstein
This dissertation positions modern images of iconic American frontier websites as visible embodiments of revisionist heritage. Artists Mark Klett, John Pfahl, Deborah vivid, and Robert Adams use images to re-image and re-write American panorama historical past; they examine conflicting narratives of nationhood and reinterpret the legacies of nineteenth-century photographers. Klett and Pfahl eventually perpetuate the parable of the frontier by means of suggesting that the country is as appealing and wealthy in assets now because it used to be within the 19th century. against this, brilliant and Adams depict well-known frontier websites as glossy ruins, revealing that America's ethnic, classification, and gender family and its ecological healthiness are fragile and volatile. In bankruptcy One, the Rephotographic Survey venture, created by means of Klett, JoAnn Verburg and Ellen Manchester, makes use of geological repeat-photography to judge current landscapes opposed to the prior; this intentionally banal comparability of "then" and "now" situates the western frontier as a altering indicator of nationwide cultural identification. In bankruptcy , Klett's panoramic photograph- collages of Yosemite and the Grand Canyon place the West as a college of background, created through generations of layered creative, documentary, and advertisement imagery. In bankruptcy 3, Pfahl's Arcadia Revisited sequence employs chic and picturesque aesthetics to depict today's Niagara Falls because the pleasing vacationer vacation spot it used to be designed to be a century in the past, mostly ignoring the region's present ecological devastation. bankruptcy 4 argues that of Bright's New England-based initiatives reveal biases in traditional American historic narratives: Glacial Erratic finds Plymouth Rock, a website of imagined patriotic reminiscence, to be seriously inscribed with histories of violence and oppression, and take place depicts crumbling stone boundary partitions as websites of strength and resistance. In bankruptcy 5, Adams's Turning again re-examines the Lewis and Clark day trip at the get together of its bicentennial; images depicting ghastly scenes of huge deforestation within the Pacific Northwest demonstrate an American dream long past awry. Klett and Pfahl's confident photos depict an iconic frontier that maintains to draw travelers, motivate artists, and gasoline patriotism. but Bright's imprisoned Plymouth Rock represents the inconsistencies of yankee background, and Adams's straight forward forests reveal the tragic aftermath of western exploration.
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Additional resources for American Landscapes as Revisionist History: The Frontier Photographs of Mark Klett, John Pfahl, Deborah Bright and Robert Adams
America is defined as a nation of shifting frontiers, and it is also distinguished by its natural landscape. The landscape arguably comprises the nation's most fundamental, celebrated, and iconic characteristics. As America developed and matured as a nation, landscapes such as Niagara Falls, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon came to represent the nation's greatest treasures, in contrast to the architectural and cultural heritage of Europe. Colonial settlers evaluated their new world by its plentiful, dramatic natural resources, differentiating it from the old world.
19 Originally established and inhabited by European colonists, America has a creation story based on belief in the possibility of a reachable, conquerable, wild frontier. American history is often told as a process of opening, exploring, and discovering. Radiating westward from Plymouth Rock, the American frontier was "discovered," claimed, and inhabited; consequently Americans enduringly self-identify as independent, headstrong pioneers. Current milestones continue to define America as a nation of "firsts"; in the mid-twentieth century, space exploration opened up a new extraterrestrial frontier, and most recently, the election of the first African-American president promises to open new cultural frontiers.
51 The best example of an artist exploring the ecological, political, and cultural possibilities of landscape in the 1960s and early 1970s is Robert Smithson. See especially Ann Reynolds, Robert Smithson: Learning from New Jersey and Elsewhere (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004). 52 Limerick and White, quotedfromthe Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History lectures on "American Environmental History: Land," April 17, 2009, Cambridge, MA. Limerick is a professor of history at the University of Colorado at Boulder where she is the director of the Center of the American West.
American Landscapes as Revisionist History: The Frontier Photographs of Mark Klett, John Pfahl, Deborah Bright and Robert Adams by Holly Markovitz Goldstein