Lewis Baltz 1945–2012
Dana Point #1 1970
Photograph, gelatin silver print on paper
152 x 225 mm
Dana Point #1 is a black and white gelatin silver print on paper by the American artist and photographer Lewis Baltz. The composition features an exterior, light-coloured stucco wall on which a large generic sign made of commercial lettering placed at the top centre reads ‘Point Realty’ in commercial lettering. The formal minimalism of the photograph is punctuated by the seam of the asphalt at the bottom of the frame.
The work was made in 1970 with Dana Point #2 (Tate P13262) as part of a series which Baltz called Prototypes. Another diptych from the same series, Houston A, Houston B 1972 (Tate P80062), is also in Tate’s collection. This series was inspired by Baltz’s interest in minimalist practices in painting and sculpture. The title of the diptych, like other works in the series – which Baltz produced throughout the United States – refers to the city where the photograph was taken, in this case Dana Point in Orange County, California. In each work of the Prototype series Baltz identified a feature in the urban environment and photographed it according to the qualities of minimalist art, whether the restriction of form to its most basic element (as in Houston A, Houston B) or in the serial repetition of particular view, as seen in Dana Point #1 and Dana Point #2.
The tendency toward serial form continuesd in Baltz’s later works and is characteristic of the ‘New Topographic’ movement in American landscape photography. Many of these works, including San Quentin Point 1982 (Tate P79978), are comprised of multiple units shown together in a grid. Baltz first showed the Prototypes at the Castelli Gallery in New York in the early 1970s, the same gallery that showed exhibited the work of minimalist artists Carl Andre and Donald Judd. Baltz’s photographs thus offer a record of the links between avant-garde photographic practice at the time and artworks in other media. This interplay was explored in the display ‘Lewis Baltz and Carl Andre: Photography and Minimalism’ at Tate Modern, London, in 2012.
Lewis Baltz: The Prototype Works, exhibition catalogue, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago 2010.
Lewis Baltz, Works, Göttingen 2010.