Mark Klett: Camino del Diablo

January 8–February 21, 2015

32 East 57th Street, 9th Floor, New York, NY


 

Installation Views
 

Selected Works
 

New York – Pace/MacGill Gallery is pleased to present Mark Klett: Camino del Diablo, a selection of recent color photographs made in the Arizona desert in response to Raphael Pumpelly's nineteenth-century memoir, Across America and Asia: Notes of a Five Years' Journey Around the World. The exhibition will be on view from January 8 through February 21, 2015, with an opening reception on Thursday, January 8 from 5:30 to 7:30 PM.

Much of Klett's work as a photographer has focused on a dialogue with historical images. He has traced the locations of photographs from the western geological surveys of the 1860s and 70s, those made in the aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, and the early documentary photography of the Yosemite and Grand Canyon National Parks. Making "rephotographs" from the precise vantage points of original views, Klett has continuously explored our visual perception of history by relating the present to the past.

In his most recent project, Klett revisited the Camino del Diablo or "the road of the devil," a historically treacherous trail traversed by the young mining engineer Raphael Pumpelly and recounted in his 1870 bestselling book. Pumpelly arrived in Arizona in the fall of 1860 to find the territory lawless and filled with danger. Murder was a daily occurrence — whether at the hands of white settlers, Mexican laborers, or Apache Indians — and Pumpelly narrowly avoided death on several occasions. He escaped to California via the Camino del Diablo in 1861, crossing the notoriously remote and extremely dry 130 miles of open desert with apprehension, but also a deep appreciation for the natural beauty around him.

152 years later, Klett traveled the same route as Pumpelly, making photographs in response to his words. Unable to trace the engineer's exact steps, Klett created images that are not literal references to specific places or events. Rather he sought to produce a more poetic response to their shared experience of the Arizona desert, along the common route that connects the two through time.

Klett writes: "The Camino has an occupied feel that registers the history of violence and surveillance along the border. There's a legacy of human presence, sometimes tragedy, left only in traces. Signs of passage remain for centuries in Arizona's dry climate. It is a place located at the compelling intersection of transience, danger and beauty." Today, most of the Camino is located on the Barry M. Goldwater Bombing Range, the premier desert training ground for the Air Force and Marine Corps since the 1940s. The blasted landscape bears artifacts common to war zones, such as shrapnel, rocket fragments, and shell castings. The adjacent border is a constantly patrolled militarized zone where the still hostile climate kills over 200 travelers, be they immigrants seeking refuge in the United States or smugglers moving north, each year. Yet the Camino also crosses one of the most beautiful and wild regions of the Sonoran Desert, the birthplace of the saguaro cactus that can grow as tall as 12 meters and live over 200 years.

Mark Klett (b. 1952, Albany, NY) received a BS in Geology from St. Lawrence University, Canton in 1974 and an MFA in Photography from the State University of New York at Buffalo, Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester in 1977. He worked for the U.S. Geological Survey from 1974 to 1977, and is currently Regents' Professor at the School of Art at Arizona State University, where he has taught since 1982.

Klett has authored 15 publications, working either as sole author or in collaboration with other photographers, writers, historians and scientists, and is the recipient of numerous honors, including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Buhl Foundation, and the Japan/U.S. Friendship Commission. His work has been exhibited worldwide and is held in the permanent collections of over 80 institutions, such as the Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Center for Creative Photography, Tucson; the International Center of Photography, New York; the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, among others

Klett lives and works in Tempe, Arizona.

For more information about Mark Klett, please contact Margaret Kelly at 212.759.7999 or margaret@pacemacgill.com. For general inquiries, please email info@pacemacgill.com.

One of the world's leading photography galleries, Pace/MacGill has been dedicated to advancing fine art photography for 30 years. Known for discovering artists, representing masters, and placing important collections and archives into major public institutions, Pace/MacGill has presented some 200 exhibitions and published numerous catalogues on modern and contemporary photography. Founded in 1983 by Peter MacGill, in collaboration with Arne Glimcher of Pace Gallery and Richard Solomon of Pace Editions, Pace/MacGill is located at 32 East 57th Street in New York City.