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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Bernd & Hilla Becher

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Metropolitan Museum of Art / New York / Art

“The photographers’ world didn’t like our photography. They thought it would be either boring, old-fashioned, and documentary only,” said the German photographer Hilla Becher (1934–2015). “We knew that, and we expected that, and it wasn’t a problem.” In partnership with her husband Bernd Becher (1931–2007), the duo closed the gap between documentary and fine-art photography, creating what became an entirely new photographic genre. Their works explore the slow extinction of Western European and North American industrial architecture. Using a large-format view camera to shoot water towers, gas tanks, grain silos, and blast furnaces, the Bechers chronicled each type of structure in grid-like arrangements they called “typologies.” Images that by themselves are direct and dispassionate, when grouped together, suddenly dazzle. The Met’s Becher retrospective is the first ever to be organized with full access to the couple’s personal archive and collection of working materials.
—Nyla Gilstrap

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Metropolitan Museum of Art 1000 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028, USA
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