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May 17, 2007

New Work by Edward Burtynsky

Burtynsky_iberia_quarries_1 Well..everyone in NYC is clearly Contemporary Art Auction crazy. Here's just one out of control story..

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FYI.. Our "spider senses" were more than just tingling while we were at the Phillips auction preview.. cause none other than super moviestar Toby Maguire was walking around right next to MAO. Toby was asking several questions about the 3 Baldessari's up for auction tonight! Oh brother.. now Hollywood is even buying!! Will the madness ever end?

Anyway.. we got to see some new Edward Burtynsky work this week. Some of these images were presented a few weeks ago at the AIPAD booth of Art Chicago. So we thought we'd share them with our MAO readers.  (photo #1, Iberian Quarries #1, Borba, Portugal 2006)

Ed_burtynsky_iberia_quarries_2 On the surface, the new work has a very similar look to some of his earlier Vermont Quarry work.. but these were all taken in Portugal at the Iberia Quarries in 2006. While they all have that signature hyper size queen big grandiose look... we thought Burtynsky's new quarries project looked a little bit romantic and maybe even a bit sentimental when compared to his previous quarry images. What do you think? (photo #2, Iberian Quarries #2, Bencatel, Portugal 2006)

By the way.. if you haven't yet seen Burtynsky's Manufactured Landscapes Documentary..it's winning all sorts of film awards. We got a DVD copy last weekend..simply mesmerizing work! By the way.. you'll have to have someone smuggle it over the Canadian boarder..cause they won't ship this DVD to the USA.. very strange, but well worth the effort!


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somebody needs to do a book or a museum survey on "cloudy day architectural landscapes" and point out the insane mass of images like this out there.

Burtinsky is one of it's fathers though and he deserves a lot of credit. He's also one of the best with ideas coming from a genuine and unique place. I bet his work would sell for as much as gursky if he showed in cooler galleries.

As if the art market doesnt have enough hollywood influence already without movie start getting involved.


A little dissapointing to see a new series so similar to an old one from Burt' but these do feel a little different. These are a little more personal than abstract maybe? But he is the man, Burtynsky's shipbreaking photos are some of the most beautiful images captured on film in my opinion.

Burtynskys review from the NYTimes from his BMA show - one of the harsher reviews I've read in the times. Although I like some of his pictures, I'm not a huge fan - but this review is particularly critical.


P.S. Love the blog.

Yes, I hear Toby is out there trying to buy, Buy, BUY! Good Luck to him!

Hi Mike...haven't heard from you in a while...hope all is well! I like the new photos...but I've always liked his work.

missing you ...

Art Brute - I wouldn't say this is a "new series" at all. It's a continuation of the quarry work that Ed started in '84 (the "Breaking Ground: Mines"), went back to in greater depth in '91 (the Vermont "Rock of Ages" and has expanded upon a few times since then (Carrara in '93, Makrana in 2000). The series is ongoing, the locations change.

It's disappointing that none of his galleries seem to have this new work on their websites!

My main issue with the NY times article is how poltical the tone of it is. Mr. Johnson seems obsessed with how misleading Burtynsky's pictures are about how destructive human activity has been. Talking about iron oxide he says it "seems less poisonous than the pictures would lead you to believe." Seems? Sounds like he doesn't know how poisonous it might be either. How seriously did he research this before he lambasted it? Very questionable. And was that really Burtynsky's intention? To scare people quite like that? It's open to interpretation. Johnson sounds more interested in defending human progress throughout the article and seems critical of Burtynsky for trying to expose any consequences of it.

So with motive established I get the impression that Johnson won't be giving any kind of fair critique of the work. The formal approach that he critiques Burtynsky for is present in many of Gursky and other photographers work and is also a signature of their style. You could say about almost every one of Gursky's photo's, the subject "not only fills the entire picture but also, you can't help imagining, extends almost infinitely in every direction." Yet for Burtynsky it's a flaw?

One of the things I love about Burtynsky's work is the contrast in that he makes look so awesome and beautiful such destructive human conditions and tendencies. But I do have to admit I sometimes feel Burtynsky's work is often lacking in this kind of indescribable pompous NY "fine art" appeal which may be holding him and his prices back from what Gursky's go for. Which is possibly associated with the Nat. Geographic Photojournalistic feel sometimes. And maybe Burtynsky will fade away into "mediocrity." But I own a shipbreaking photo. And it often gets the most admiration and inspires the most awe from anyone who's seen my collection. And it is one photo that I won't mind keeping, even if it's value doesn't explode like some of the photos I have by other photographers.

There are some copies of manufactured landscape dvd on amazon if anyone is interested!!


Art Brute-yes I spied the Burtynsky DVD on Amazon as well, but $81!! The import restriction (??) may explain why it is forever sitting in my "saved" que on Netflix. Whats up with that?


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