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Petrochemical America: A unique collaboration between photographer and landscape architect
Trailer Home, Norco, Louisiana, 1998, Richard Misrach (left) and Detail from Bigger, Farther, Filled with More Stuff, Kate Orff (right).
NEW YORK, NY.- Petrochemical America, the September release from Aperture, represents a unique collaboration between photographer Richard Misrach and landscape architect Kate Orff. It brings into focus the industrialized landscape of the Mississippi River Corridor that stretches from Baton Rouge to New Orleans—a place that first garnered attention as “Cancer Alley” because of unusually high reports of cancer and other diseases in the area. The Project Room exhibition reveals traces of their collaborative process and features Misrach’s haunting photographs of the region and Orff’s Ecological Atlas, a series of visual narratives, or “throughlines.” The dialogue between photograph and drawing begins to unpack complex economic and ecological forces that have shaped this landscape, mapping cycles of extraction and transformation from the scale of the neighborhood, to the region, to the globe. Ultimately, this joint enterprise offers an expansion of both disciplines and a richly researched and concretely visualized study of the petrochemical industry and American culture, which has become intricately intertwined with its output.

Petrochemical America: Project Room will travel to Look3 Festival of the Photograph, Charlottesville, Virginia, June 7–29, 2013; David Brower Center, Berkeley, California, September 12, 2013–January 29, 2014; Pomona College Museum of Art, Claremont, California, fall 2014; and other venues to be announced. Also on view is Revisiting the South: Richard Misrach’s Cancer Alley: June 2–October 14, 2012 at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta.

Richard Misrach (born in Los Angeles, 1949) is the author of fifteen monographs, including four Aperture publications (Violent Legacies, 1992; On The Beach, 2007; Destroy This Memory, 2010; and Golden Gate, 2012). Widely exhibited and collected by major institutions worldwide, he is the recipient of numerous awards for his photography, including the Guggenheim Fellowship and four fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Kate Orff (born in Maryland, 1971) is an assistant professor at Columbia University and founder of SCAPE, a landscape architecture studio in Manhattan. Her work weaves together sustainable development, design for biodiversity, and community‐based change. Orff’s recent exhibition at MoMA, Oystertecture, imagined the future of the polluted Gowanus Canal as part of a ground‐up community process and an ecologically revitalized New York harbor.

Petrochemical America: Project Room is on view at Aperture Gallery from September 25 through October 6, 2012.

Petrochemical America has been made possible, in part, with support from Lee Walls, Jr. and the Turner Foundation.



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Petrochemical America: A unique collaboration between photographer and landscape architect

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