By Peter Galassi
Jeff Wall's large color transparencies set forth an imposing and seductive pictorial world. Ranging from the gritty realism of the city street to bizarre flights of fantasy, his photographs have won him wide recognition as one of the most adventurous and accomplished artists of the past three decades. This book accompanies a major retrospective jointly organized in 2007 by Peter Galassi, Chief Curator of Photography, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Neal Benezra, Director, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Born in 1946 in Vancouver, British Columbia, where he lives and works, Jeff Wall has charted an ambitious and unique path through the maze of contemporary art, drawing upon such diverse resources as Conceptual art, Neorealist cinema, philosophy, literature, critical theory, modernist photography, and the venerable tradition of European painting. The exhibition includes all of his major works to date, which are reproduced here along with several very recent pictures and a generous selection of artistic sources, cousins, and echoes. The latter are illustrations to Galassi's essay, which sketches the breadth and originality of Wall's artistic and intellectual universe and challenges conventional interpretations of his development and achievement. The book also includes a thoughtful interview with the artist by James Rondeau, Frances & Thomas Dittmer Chairman, Department of Contemporary Art, The Art Institute of Chicago. Includes 98 illustrations (80 color, 18 b&w).