Admission is always free Directions

Open today: 10:00 to 5:00

Lewis Baltz: Prototypes/Ronde de Nuit
March 20 – July 31, 2011
West Building Ground Floor

This exhibition is no longer on view at the National Gallery.

Overview: From 1967 through the early 1970s, the Californian artist Lewis Baltz (born 1945) made a series of photographs that focuses on the sides of warehouse sheds, stucco walls, empty billboards, and other geometric forms found in the postwar suburban landscape. He titled these works Prototypes, by which he meant both the industrially made model structures scattered across California and the modern culture that generated them. Never before exhibited as a group, the Prototypes are among the earliest works of art to show the fascinating and disturbing transformation of the American landscape into an unending terrain of anonymous commercial architecture.

In the first exhibition dedicated to this series, some 50 Prototypes will be on view along with works by Donald Judd and Richard Serra—key participants in the avant-garde dialogue that inspired Baltz. In addition, the exhibition will include the 12-panel color work Ronde de Nuit (Night Watch) from 1991 to 1992, a mural-sized tableau of surveillance sites and the people who work in them. Dramatically different in scale and appearance from the Prototypes, Ronde de Nuit reveals the artist's continuing preoccupation with industrially manufactured environments and how they are used to control contemporary society.

Organization: Organized by The Art Institute of Chicago.

Sponsor: The exhibition in Washington is made possible through the generous support of the Trellis Fund.

Image: Lewis Baltz, Monterey, 1967, gelatin silver print, The Art Institute of Chicago, Gift of Lewis Baltz, 1972.218

Related Artists

Related Resources

Education Resource: Art since 1950

Audio and Video

Decoding Baltz's Prototypes
Audio, Released: July 19, 2011, (44:44 minutes)
Lewis Baltz: Prototypes/Ronde de Nuit
Audio, Released: April 12, 2011, (51:53 minutes)
Press Event: Lewis Baltz: Prototypes/Ronde de Nuit
Audio, Released: March 15, 2011, (25:25 minutes)