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Lewis Baltz Archive, 1967-2013

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Baltz (Lewis) Archive

Scope and Content of Collection

The collection encompasses Lewis Baltz's career spanning from his early black-and-white Prototype Works of the late 1960s to his color projects of the early twenty-first century up to and including Aqua Alta and It's a Wonderful Life (2002). Included are original materials-negatives with printing notes, contact sheets, outtakes for images not selected as part of a final project, proof prints, and duplicate final prints-as well as installation shots, exhibition ephemera, and publications by and about Baltz.

Series I, Projects, forms the largest portion of the collection. It contains original materials for most of Baltz's major projects starting with his early single black-and-white images known first as Highways Series and later renamed Prototype Works. The projects are divided into two main groups: black-and-white projects and color projects. The former group roughly coincides with Baltz's American work, while the latter group is primarily, but not exclusively, composed of his European work (i.e. work he created after moving to Europe). This group contains a small amount of black-and-white work, especially among the earlier transitional projects.

The work Baltz produced in the first half of his career was essentially serial in nature. He kept binders for each project (or sometimes for groups of smaller projects) that housed the project's negatives, contact prints and printing notes. In addition to these materials the series contains gelatin silver prints for a number of projects including The Tract Houses; The New Industrial Parks; Nevada; Park City; San Quentin Point; Candlestick Point (including two portfolios); The Canadian Series; Continuous Fire Polar Circle and Fos Secteur 80. These prints can be proof prints, reproduction prints, duplicate prints or outtakes. Most are 8 x 10 inch prints although there are a few larger and smaller prints; some are signed.

During the late 1980s and early 1990s Baltz continued to produce works of a serial nature such as his 89-91 Sites of Technology, yet he was also beginning to create large pieces both for museums and public spaces. The binders for the European projects thus encompass a wider variety of materials. The materials for projects such as 89-91 Sites of Technology are similar to those found in the black-and-white work, albeit in color. The materials in other binders reflect both the large-scale and transitory nature of Baltz's later projects and include original photographic materials used for creating the projects as well as photographs, cds, dvds, and printed materials relating to the completed projects. Additionaly there are color proof prints for 5W31 (Decay); 11777 Foothill Blvd.; Piazza Pugliese; SHHHH! (for Luxembourg); and Gladesaxe, Copenhagen.

Series II is primarily devoted to materials that can be seen as compilations on Baltz's career. Included are binders compiled for the two-volume retrospective publication Rule without Exception; Only Exceptions (Göttingen: Steidl, 2012) and a binder of exhibition and installation shots. Although Baltz was a collaborator on the Steidl project, the publication falls outside the scope of his original work and is thus not a project in the sense of Series I. Jeffery Rian's Rowboat portfolio is included here as an example of a group portfolio to which Baltz contributed.

Printed articles by Baltz; articles, reviews, and notices about Baltz; and ephemera from Baltz's solo and group exhibitions comprise Series III. These materials, while undoubtedly incomplete, taken together nevertheless present a detailed overview of Baltz's career. Also included are small amounts of ephemera from projects undertaken by Baltz's students at various institutions, other assorted ephemera, a very small amount of late correspondence received or sent by Baltz and two photographic portraits of Baltz.


The collection is comprised of three series:
Series I: Projects, 1967-2011;
Series II: Books, portfolios and exhibition materials, 1988-2012;
Series III: Printed matter and ephemera,1984-2013.

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