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Book Presentation and Panel Discussion on Mario Pfeifer's "Reconsidering",...
Apr 10, 2011

Book Presentation and Panel Discussion on Mario Pfeifer's Reconsidering The new Industrial Parks near Irvine, California by Lewis Baltz, 1974, published by Sternberg Press, 2011

Sunday April 10, 2011 4:30 to 6:00 PM


LA><ART is proud to host Mario Pfeifer: Reconsidering The new Industrial Parks near Irvine, California by Lewis Baltz, 1974. In a panel discussion - for the book's  first presentation in the US - speakers Allan Sekula, Catherine Taft and Mario Pfeifer will discuss possible answers to the inherent questions and furthermore investigate notions of Representation / Reproduction / Realism in these works, paired with critical observations of labor depiction within socio-political and conceptual art practices in the 1970's until today. Andrew Freeman will be moderating the discussion.

The book discusses Mario Pfeifer’s recent 16mm film installation Reconsidering The new Industrial Parks near Irvine, California by Lewis Baltz, 1974. This installation, consisting of two synchronized, looped, and parallel projected films, takes its point of departure from the first monograph of Baltz’s work, published by Castelli Graphics, New York in 1974.

Over the last four decades, Lewis Baltz has continuously produced highquality photographic books. This publication functions as a critical reader, reevaluating “New Topographics” as representations of landscapes. Looking at Pfeifer’s installation, which re-visits a Baltz’s photographic site, Vanessa Joan Müller negotiates the terms realism / reality and the way Pfeifer discovers the mis-representation of a modern industrial building in Irvine’s Industrial Park in 2009. Martin Hochleitner contextualizes Pfeifer’s film installation within the context of the original “New Topographics” exhibitions (1975), which, since 2009, are being shown throughout the United States and Europe. In addition, this publication consists of film stills, production stills, and a rare interview by Mario Pfeifer with Lewis Baltz.

In her introduction to this critical reader Julia Moritz notes the following:

"One of the rare interviews given by Lewis Baltz — published here for the first time in conversation with Mario Pfeifer — highlights the difficulty in formulating the open questions generated by that particular photographic work, as well as its distributive processing. With and beyond Baltz, the struggle for an adequate terminology and the meaning of socio-political context for such images emerges as Pfeifer’s urgent questioning of the conceptual tradition. It becomes apparent that Baltz’s interest was geared more toward abstract,formal painting — and its political implications — rather than toward a genuinely photographic engagement. In which context then should Baltz’s work be discussed appropriately? The republishing of Baltz’s short, untitled text from 1974 provides a clue as to the horizon of Baltz’s conceptual tradition.
Alongside his work as an artist, he has published writings — albeit under a pseudonym — as an architecture critic and theorist. “Untitled” combines the aesthetic and discursive strategies of conceptual art in an illuminating way: a list of typical characteristics — similar to the serial images themselves — of the utility buildings duly depicted (“typical characteristics” include: locations, considerations in site selections, site planning, construction techniques, functions, names, environmental relations, and economic considerations). Typicality appears to be the principal structural feature of the image-oriented utilitarianism that Baltz, by means of his photographic close reading, exposes as the driving force of postmodern conceptions of environment, work, and, indeed, life. But what is typical of Baltz’s own photographs?"
In his acclaimed essay Photography between Labor and Capital (1988), Allan Sekula proposes:

"What should be recognized here is that photographic books (and exhibitions), frequently cannot help but reproduce these rudimentary ordering schemes, and in so doing implicitly claim a share in both the authority and the illusory neutrality of the archive. Herein lies the 'primitivism' of still photography in relation to the cinema. Unlike a film, a photographic book or exhibition can almost always be dissolved back into its component parts, back into an archive. ... Photographer, archivist, editor and curator can all claim, when challenged about their interpretations, to merely passing along a neutral reflection of an already established state of affairs. Underlying this process of professional denial is a commonsensical empiricism. The photograph reflects reality. The archive accurately catalogues the ensemble of reflections, and so on."

Andrew Freeman
is an artist and currently a faculty member of the Photography and Media program at The California Institute of the Arts. He co-directs the photographic arts curriculum of the Community Arts Partnership (CAP). His work stresses new forms of documentary photography, installation, film and writing and is included in many public and private collections. His photographic work (Manzanar) Architecture Double was published as a book in 2006 and has shown in Los Angeles at LACMA and the Sam Lee Gallery as well as London, Tel Aviv, and at the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson Arizona. His ongoing work and artistic collaboration centered in Panama was premiered in Los Angeles at Las Cienagas Projects in 2009.

Mario Pfeifer
is a film-making artist based in Berlin and New York. After his studies in Leipzig (HGB) and Berlin (UDK), he graduated from Willem de Rooij's class at Städelschule Frankfurt am Main in 2008. He was a Fulbright fellow in Los Angeles (California Institute of the Arts) in 2008/09 and received further grants from the Goethe Institut and the DAAD that lead him to Bangkok, Mumbai and New York, where he currently lives and works. [Source: KOCH OBERHUBER WOLFF].

Allan Sekula is a photographer, writer, and filmmaker based in Los Angeles, where he teaches in the Program in Photography and Media at the California Institute of the Arts. He has explored an experimental social documentary practice since the early 1970s. His books include Photography Against the Grain, Fish Story, Geography Lesson: Canadian Notes, Performance under Working Conditions, and TITANIC's wake. [Source MAK]

Catherine Taft is a Los Angeles-based writer and curator. She is a regular contributor to publications including Artforum, ArtReview, Modern Painters, Metropolis M and exhibition catalogs in the United States and abroad. In addition to her writing, Taft is Curatorial Associate in the Department of Architecture and Contemporary Art at the Getty Research Institute, where she helped organize the 2008 exhibition, "California Video," and where she is currently working on "Pacific Standard Time," an exhibition of post-war art from Los Angeles, scheduled to open at the Getty in October 2011. [Source: artoffice]

Further information on the publication:

Mario Pfeifer: Reconsidering The new Industrial Parks near Irvine, California by Lewis Baltz, 1974
With texts by Chris Balaschak, Lewis Baltz, Martin Hochleitner, Julia Moritz, Vanessa Joan Müller, and a conversation between Lewis Baltz and Mario Pfeifer

© Sternberg Press, 2011, English
12 x 15 cm, 96 pages, 30 b/w ill. , softcover
ISBN 978-1-934105-29-0
$19.95 | €15.00


The CONVERSATION series, inaugurated on April 5th, 2011 in Toronto, Canada, will continue with presentations and discussions in New York (White Columns), Berlin, Linz and Paris throughout 2011.

Please visit http://www.sternberg-press.com/?pageId=2 for further information and updates.