Robert Adams

No Small Journeys


November 8 - December 20, 2003
523 W 24 Street
Opening November 7, 2003


Press Release

Matthew Marks is pleased to announce Robert Adams: No Small Journeys, the next exhibition at his gallery at 523 West 24th Street.

The exhibition will consist of a series of 52 vintage black and white photographs, the majority of which were taken between 1979 and 1982. The photographs are being exhibited for the first time.

Adams has written about these images, "If we come upon innocence, beauty, caring, joy, or courage, even in lost places, are we not obliged to acknowledge them in defiance of ironists?"

No Small Journeys relates to a series of photographs of Denver and its suburbs near the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant, a version of which was published by Aperture under the title Our Lives and our Children in 1983. One day in the early 1970s, Adams and his wife saw from their home a column of smoke rising above the weapons plant. Though the fire ultimately did little harm, the artist's initial fear at the possibility of a nuclear disaster motivated him to explore photographically just what stood to be lost in the event of nuclear fallout in suburban Colorado.

In recent years, Adams felt it was important to expand the project to emphasize the simple beauty and humanity that can be found in the seemingly improbable environments we have created for ourselves all across America. Rather than focus on some looming disaster, he composed this series as a testament to that unlikely and markedly human beauty, summing up his new reaction to the work with a quotation by Edward Dahlberg: "Homer sang of many sacred towns in Hellas which were no better than Kansas City."

Robert Adams was born in 1937 and has been photographing the American cultural landscape for nearly forty years. In 1989, the Philadelphia Museum of Art organized a retrospective exhibition, and in 1997 his work was included in Documenta X. In 2001, Adams had a major exhibition entitled Reinventing the West (with Ansel Adams) at the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, Massachusetts, and the Yale University Art Gallery held an exhibition called What We Bought: The New World in 2002. Adams was awarded a MacArthur Foundation fellowship in 1994 and Guggenheim fellowships in 1973 and 1980.

More than fifteen books of Adams's photographs and writings have been published. The present exhibition will be accompanied by an eponymous monograph, reproducing all 52 photographs in the series, published by the gallery.

Robert Adams: No Small Journeys, Across Shopping Center Parking Lots, Down City Streets will be on view at the Matthew Marks Gallery, 523 West 24th Street (between 10th and 11th Avenues) through December 20, 2003. Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 to 6:00 pm.

For further information or reproductions please contact Sabrina Buell at 212-243-0200.