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Richard Misrach at the David Brower Center


Richard Misrach’s current exhibition at the David Brower Center, “Petrochemical America,” draws attention to the environmental destruction cased by industrial landscapes. His photographs capture the pollution the petrochemical industry has caused, in an area known as the Chemical Corridor.

I would have expected that environmental regulations or even broader environmental awareness over the decade would have had some impact on the region, but that has not been the case…In recent years, there have been numerous accidents, toxic releases and poor practices, not to mention the devastating Deep Horizon oil spill which occurred just as I was revisiting the area in 2010. –Richard Misrach

From Berkleyside online posting by Tracey Taylor on 19 November 2013.
To learn more about Misrach’s work, please visit his artist page.

Richard Misrach to lecture at San Francisco Art Institute


Petrochemical America, co-published in 2012 by photographer Richard Misrach and landscape architect Kate Orff, focuses on the environmental impacts of petrochemical plants in Louisiana:

Ultimately, this joint enterprise brought forth an exploration and expansion of both disciplines: how can photography and landscape architecture generate change, and how can design choreograph public and private interest to refashion a place? Misrach and Orff started with a discussion of public health and local politics and ended in a dialogue about the future American landscape relative to obsolescence and sprawl. Their collaborative examination of Cancer Alley points to the past and into the future, implicating neighborhoods and corporate states. It also aims to participate in new thinking about how we can best divest ourselves of our addiction to petrochemicals, and to sketch the outlines of a more hopeful future. Petrochemical America‘s “About This Book”

On 19 April 2013, Misrach will be lecturing at the San Francisco Art Institute. For more information please visit the event page.

To learn more about Misrach’s work, please visit his artist page.
To purchase Petrochemical America, please visit the publication page.

Kate Orff receives USA Artists Grant

Richard Misrach’s collaborator and coauthor on Petrochemical America, Kate Orff, received the prestigious USA Artist Grant.  She is one of only six architects/designers to do so.

I think a major challenge of making change is being able to visualize issues and to have an informed conversation about these issues. Richard’s photographs are experienced almost intuitively and emotionally. My hope is that by integrating emotion and analysis, photography, research, and speculation, the book can play a role in sparking a deeper discussion about the future of energy and our shared climate and the landscape that we have made. –Kate Orff

From the USA Fellows online posting from 2012.
To learn more about the Petrochemical America collaboration, please visit the publication page.

Richard Misrach’s “Petrochemical America” on Photo-Eye Blog

Melanie McWhorter of Photo-Eye takes a closer look at the collaborative publication by Richard Misrach and Katie Orff, Petrochemical America, and examines the book’s implications both as an artist book as well as an environmental study:

Will such a book have an effect on the way we think and make decisions regarding the petrochemical process and the role individuals play? In the introduction, Orff mentions how the work of Ansel Adams motivated a generation of Sierra Club activists into a movement that culminated in the Wilderness Act, founding new legislation that helped preserve national landscapes. Orff puts Misrach’s images in direct lineage with Adams. Petrochemical America is an important factor in the education of America and if its lessons are applied could be a major factor in making a difference. –Melanie McWhorter

From the Photo-Eye Blog online posting by Melanie McWhorter on 23 November 2012.
To learn more about Misrach’s work, please visit his artist page.

Oil and Nature: A Landscape Reconfigured

Richard Misrach and Kate Orff’s collaboration Petrochemical America showcases the environmental impacts of industry along the Mississippi River Corridor in Louisiana. The New York Times Green Blog reviews the show from a more environmental perspective, highlighting the work of Misrach’s collaborator Kate Orff, a landscape architect.

We’re all landscape architects even if it’s by default, because we have made and remade the landscape in the last 100 years, in this era of big oil.” –Kate Orff

From The New York Times Green Blog online posting by Emma Bryce on 25 September 2012.
To learn more about Misrach’s work, please visit his artist page.

Richard Misrach’s Cancer Alley

Creative Loafing reviewed the recent Richard Misrach exhibition, Revisiting the South: Richard Misrach’s Cancer Alley at The High Museum of Art in Atalanta, Georgia. Misrach’s newest work and the accompanying publication, Petrochemical America were also recently shown in the project room at Aperture’s New York Gallery.

The current photography exhibition at the High Museum, “Revisiting the South: Richard Misrach’s Cancer Alley,” is a powerful reminder of the virtue only a photograph can deliver. Misrach’s gigantic photographs of juxtapositions between graveyards, playgrounds, fishermen, and chemical plants in Cancer Alley, an area along the Mississippi river in the deep south where many petrochemical plants are located, are laced with social commentary, irony, satire, realism, and exquisite beauty. –Joeff Davis

From the Creative Loafing online posting by Joeff Davis on 5 October 2012.
To learn more about Misrach’s work, please visit his artist page.

The Modern Art Notes Podcast: Richard Misrach

A Modern Art Notes podcast has just been released. It highlights Petrochemical America (Aperture, 2012), the new book born from a collaboration between Richard Misrach and landscape architect Kate Orff. The podcast discusses Misrach’s years-long project:

The book examines the industrialized Mississippi River corridor between Baton Rouge, La., and New Oreleans. The region is infamous for its density of petrochemical plants and for high rates of disease, particularly cancer. The book features Misrach’s pictures, commissioned by the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, and landscape architect Kate Orff’s Ecological Atlas, a series of narratives that establish a relationship between Misrach’s photographs, the region and man-made and ecological forces.

This podcast may be downloaded to a computer or mobile device through the ArtInfo link.
The Modern Arts Notes Podcast can be streamed or subscribed to via iTunes or RSS.

An exhibition of Misrach’s and Orff’s work is on view now in the project room at Aperture’s New York gallery through October 6.
Misrach’s ‘Cancer Alley’ pictures are on view at the High Museum in Atlanta through October 7.

For more information about Misrach and his other projects, please see his artist page.
The book, Petrochemical America, may be purchased through Fraenkel Gallery.


Petrochemical America: A Conversation with Richard Misrach and Kate Orff

At some point, somebody turned me on to the River Road in Louisiana, and the industrial corridor that was then called “Cancer Alley.” When I got there, I was just floored by what I saw. I had never come across an American landscape like that. People were living side by side with these great industrial behemoths. I’d always thought of industrial sites as sacrifice zones, in that they would be off in an isolated area, like in Nevada with the nuclear test site in the middle of nowhere. It never occurred to me that people would live within feet of these toxic environments.

Richard Misrach first encountered “Cancer Alley” in 1998 while working on a commission from the High Museum of Art in Atlanta for a series called “Picturing the South.”  In 2009, the High Museum asked Misrach if he’d be interested in exhibiting some of the photos not previously shown. Misrach decided to revisit “Cancer Alley” completely, shoot a new series to see what change, if any, had occurred in the area. Along the way, he teamed with landscape architect Kate Orff to create supplemental, didactic images of the area with the goal of affecting change.

The product of this collaboration is the newly published book Petrochemical America (Aperture, 2012) which may be purchased on the Fraenkel Gallery website.

The full text of the interview with Misrach and Orff is found on the Aperture Foundation website.
For more information on Misrach, please visit his artist page.


Petrochemical America: Picturing Cancer Alley

Richard Misrach’s work in Louisiana is featured this week on The New Yorker’s photography blog, “Photo Booth“.

In 1998, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta asked Richard Misrach to produce a body of work for their “Picturing the South” series. Misrach decided to focus on “Cancer Alley,” the Mississippi corridor that stretches a hundred and fifty miles between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, a startling landscape where antebellum mansions and current-day communities line the swamps and levees among gargantuan industrial plants that produce a quarter of America’s petrochemicals.

Posted by Suzanne Shaheen. To read more, visit Photo Booth.
To learn more about Misrach’s work, visit his artist page.


Petrochemical America: Richard Misrach and Kate Orff

The Aperture Foundation, celebrating their 60th anniversary this year, hosts a unique collaboration between artist Richard Misrach and landscape architect Kate Orff entitled Petrochemical America: Project Room.

Petrochemical America represents a unique collaboration between photographer Richard Misrach and landscape architect Kate Orff. It brings into focus the industrialized landscape of the Mississippi River Corridor that stretches from Baton Rouge to New Orleans – a place that first garnered attention as “Cancer Alley” because of unusually high reports of cancer and other diseases in the area.

Continue reading →

Revisiting the South: Richard Misrach’s Cancer Alley

Time Magazine’s online column LightBox has featured work from Richard Misrach’s series Cancer Alley. The exhibition Revisiting the South: Richard Misrach’s Cancer Alley is currently on view at the High Museum, in Atlanta, Georgia from June 2 through Oct. 7, 2012.

The Mississippi is, according to song, a river of black water and mud. But, over a 100-mile stretch between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, something else flows. The nearly 150 petrochemical plants along those banks mean that the region has one of the highest concentrations of industry in the United States. That cluster of facilities, and the resulting pollution and increased cancer rates, have earned the area the nickname “Cancer Alley.”

From the June 1, 2012 Time LightBox feature.

Learn more about Richard Misrach on his artist page.