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Richard Misrach, born in 1949 in Los Angeles, is one of the most influential and prolific artists of his generation. In the 1970's, he helped pioneer the renaissance of color photography and large-scale presentation that are widespread practice today. Best known for his ongoing epic series, Desert Cantos, a multi-faceted approach to the study of place and man's complex relationship to it, he has worked in the landscape for over 40 years. Other notable bodies of work include his documentation of the industrial corridor along the Mississippi River known as Cancer Alley, the rigorous study of weather and time in his serial photographs of the Golden Gate, and On the Beach, an aerial perspective of human interaction and isolation. Recent projects mark departures from his work to date. In one, experimenting with the latest digital technologies, Misrach has deftly switched positive and negative along the color spectrum to create images made without film. In another project, "Destroy this Memory" (Aperture, 2010), he builds a narrative out of images of graffiti created during Hurricane Katrina, made with a 4-megapixel pocket camera.
Misrach's photographs are held in the collections of over fifty major institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Metropolitian Museum of Art in New York; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. A major mid-career survey was organized by the Houston Museum of Fine Arts in 1996. More recently, the exhibit, On the Beach, traveled to museums nationwide, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the High Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Art. In 2010, on the 5 year anniversary of Katrina, the exhibition "Untitled [New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, 2005]" debuted at the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Houston Museum of Fine Arts. In 2011, on the 20 year anniversary of the Oakland-Berkeley Hills fire, the exhibition "The Oakland-Berkeley Fire Aftermath: Photographs by Richard Misrach" opened simultaneously at the Oakland Museum of California and at the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive. Currently, Misrach's work on the Missisippi's Cancer Alley is on view at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and will be featured in Petrochemical America an Aperture publication done in collaboration with Kate Orff due out this Fall.
Over a dozen monographs have been published on Misrach's work, among them Desert Cantos; Bravo 20: The Bombing of the American West; Crimes and Splendors: The Desert Cantos of Richard Misrach; Violent Legacies; The Sky Book; Richard Misrach: Golden Gate; Chronologies; On the Beach, Destroy this Memory, and 1991. He is the recipient of numerous awards in the arts including 4 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships and a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 2002 he was given the Kulturpreis for Lifetime Achievement in Photography by the German Society for Photography, and in 2008 the Lucie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Fine Art Photography.