Lothar Baumgarten: Carbon

Begin Date2004-09-19
End Date2004-12-05
Last Harvested At2022-10-29
Credit LineLothar Baumgarten: Carbon was organized by the Dallas Museum of Art. Exhibition support provided by the Contemporary Art Fund through the gifts of an anonymous donor, Naomi Aberly and Laurence Lebowitz, Arlene and John Dayton, Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Faulconer, Nancy and Tim Hanley, The Hoffman Family Foundation, Cindy and Howard Rachofsky, Evelyn P. and Edward W. Rose, and Gayle and Paul Stoffel. Additional support provided by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Foundation representing The Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company and by Mr. and Mrs. John Ford Lacy.
LocationBarrel Vault and Quadrant Galleries
OrganizerDallas Museum of Art
DescriptionIn 1989 German artist Lothar Baumgarten dedicated six months to following America's railroad tracks across the land with camera, dictating recorder, and pen and notebook, developing an epic project he would call "Carbon," which would incorporate several thousand black-and-white and color photographs, large-scale wall drawings, journals, audio tapes, texts, and graphic design and typography studies into an eponymous limited-edition publication now regarded as one of the most beautiful artist's books of the late 20th century. At the Dallas Museum of Art, Baumgarten has installed by far the most expansive presentation of this legendary project yet mounted, including three hugely expansive drawings combining abstracted railway engineering monuments with a polyphony of railway names that command the walls of the vault, more than 100 photographs, and a rich selection of art materials related to the development of the artist's book. "Carbon" is a poetic look at the impact of the railroad on the geography, people, and history of America. It addresses the beautiful landscapes opened up and then frequently defiled by development, the human accomplishment of settling the land that came at the cost of the displacement and decimation of Native Americans, and the decline of the railroads themselves as the source of powerful metaphor as they became simply industrial transportation.