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Between Home and Heaven: Contemporary American Landscape Photography

from the Consolidated Natural Gas Collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Essays by Merry A. Foresta, Stephen Jay Gould, and Karal Ann Marling

Published by the Smithsonian American Art Museum Institution, Washington, D.C., in association with the University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, New Mexico

From stunning panoramas and majestic bridges to nuclear waste dumpsites, Between Home and Heaven captures the compelling complexity of contemporary landscape photography. Featuring 90 works by 39 artists, along with illustrated essays by three prominent critics, this book helps redefine the nature of the American landscape. The landscape today resonates as much with the contradictions and ambiguities of the late 20th century as with the idealized works of such 19th-century painters as Thomas Cole and Frederic Edwin Church.

The time of the "unspoiled" wilderness is largely past and the grandiloquent photographs of Ansel Adams and his followers seem anachronistic. To reveal the truth within the landscape, photographers of the present day have had to find a way to mediate between the sometimes harsh realities of contemporary life and the edenic traditions of the genre -- between home and heaven. This book, which accompanies a major exhibition at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, is a fascinating and thorough account of the paths today's artists have taken through the enigmatic terrain of contemporary America.

Between Home and Heaven, drawn from a collection of over 300 photographs, is made possible through the support of the Consolidated Natural Gas Foundation.

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