Lewis Baltz

Dana Point #2


Not on display

Lewis Baltz American, 1945 – 2014
Photograph, gelatin silver print on paper
Image: 150 × 225 mm
Presented by Slavica Perkovic 2012


Dana Point #2 is a black and white gelatin silver print on paper by the American artist and photographer Lewis Baltz. The composition features an exterior stucco wall on which a large generic sign 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 and the organically shaped crack that extend across the cement in different directions.

The work was made in 1970 with Dana Point #1 (Tate P13261) 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 continued 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 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.

Further reading
Lewis Baltz: The Prototype Works, exhibition catalogue, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago 2010.
Lewis Baltz, Works, Göttingen 2010.

Simon Baker
July 2012

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Display caption

While still an undergraduate at the San Francisco Art Institute, Baltz began a series that he would later title Prototypes, showing close-up, textured and cropped fragments of the man-made industrial landscapes that he found around his home town of Newport Beach and the Los Angeles Bay Area. The everyday American landscapes captured by Baltz are strikingly close to the abstract and stark forms of contemporary American sculpture. These small hand-printed photographs were themselves treated like minimalist objects, and in the early 1970s Baltz began to exhibit his work with Leo Castelli, a New York gallery at the forefront of showcasing minimal and conceptual art.

Gallery label, October 2016

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