I’ve always been fascinated with photographs of factories and infrastructure. I remember vividly a photography magazine my Dad had, containing incredibly sharp images of a German refinery, all gleaming chrome plated tanks and steel ladders and overhead metal ductwork. On my bookshelf sits Brian Haye’s work, Infrastructure: A Field Guide to the Industrial Landscape. Squarely within my interest comes a new exhibit to the De Young Museum in San Francisco.
Entitled The Cult of the Machine, the exhibit highlights and and analyzes outstanding works of arts revolving around images taken in the 1920s and 1930s of America’s machine dominated landscape, in a style the De Young calls Precisionism. This online introduction is well worth ten minutes of your time, if not longer, to linger over fascinating photographs and artworks of an era in which industry was thought of as a savior and also, perhaps, as a threat.
https://digitalstories.famsf.org/cult-machine#start (external link)
Charles Scheeler. Upper Deck.