Richard Misrach, “November 20, 2011, 3:36 PM” (2011). Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery.
“I grew up in L.A. and went to Berkeley from ’67 to ‘71. I started out as a math major and ended up in psychology, but that was also when Berkeley was just going insane. I didn’t take formal classes in photography at all. I started taking photographs of tear gassings on the Berkeley campus with my uncle’s camera….I was being exposed to Berkeley street riots and the politics of the time, which was very important to me, but I was also being exposed to the f/64 school of photography—Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Dorothea Lange—and I was just falling in love with photography, so I found that that combination of social, political engagement along with my passion for the aesthetics of the medium of photography were coming together very fast and hard. For the last forty years I think my work has reflected those two polarities, and it’s been sort of interesting the way they have been pushed. They’ve never really reconciled—art and politics.”
-Richard Misrach today at Paris Photo Los Angeles, in an on-stage conversation with John Divola and curator Douglas Fogle. Misrach’s work is on view through June 16 at the Cantor Center at Stanford University. A exhibition of his new largescale photos opens next Saturday at Pace/McGill Gallery in New York.