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Tract House #4, 1971

Lewis Baltz

American, 1945-2014
Gelatin silver print, ed. 3/12
Image: 5-3/4 x 8-7/8 in. (14.6 x 22.5 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, Gift of the Artist
© Lewis Baltz

Not on view

Baltz is best known for his controlled and emotionally detached views of the urban landscape. His photographs record public spaces, residential homes, construction sites, business developments, and their environments. This image is from the artist's "Tract Houses" series, a haunting group of twenty-five photographs that meticulously document the banal details of suburban housing sites under construction in the Southern California area. The abstracted views of the residential tract homes present close-ups of architectural details such as large concrete walls, sliding aluminum windows, and large dirt yards, as well as wider shots that capture entire houses. Void of human figures, his images comment on the vacancy and loss of individuality in mass society. Individually and as a single body of work, the "Tract Houses" combine formal elegance with a sense of underlying apathy, and focus upon the sepulchral quality of prefabricated housing.

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