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Course, I

1988-1989 Ellen Brooks Born: Los Angeles, California 1946 silver dye bleach print sheet: 41 x 109 in. (104.1 x 276.8 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of the Consolidated Natural Gas Company Foundation © 1991, Ellen Brooks 1991.49 Not currently on view

Exhibition Label

In the late 1980s, Ellen Brooks was drawn to images of what she called “palatable nature” – objects and landscapes that conform to culturally defined ideals of natural beauty. Using photographs she found in magazines and theme calendars, Brooks constructed multi-layered works that emphasize the artifice of bonsai trees and formal gardens. For Course I, Brooks painted over an image of a manicured golf course, and then re-photographed it through a dense mesh screen that recalls the halftone screen used to print photographic reproductions. The result is a witty take on landscape; both nature and image have been manipulated for our use.

A Democracy of Images: Photographs from the Smithsonian American Art Musuem, 2013


Architecture - other - playground

Recreation - sport and play - golf

photography - photoprint

fiberboard - masonite

silver dye bleach