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Sim Chi Yin (Singaporean, b.  1978), Mountain range surrounding the Nevada Test Site, November 2017.  Archival pigment print.  From the series Most People Were Silent.  Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Richard and Ronay Menschel Fund for the Acquisition of Photographs, 2020.181.  Artwork: © Sim Chi Yin; image courtesy of the artist.

Devour the Land: War and American Landscape Photography since 1970

Harvard Art Museums / September 17, 2021 - January 16, 2022 / Cambridge, Massachusetts


Explore the impacts of military activity on the American landscape—and the ways in which photography supports activism in response to these effects.

How do photographs portray environmental damage that can be difficult to see, much less identify and measure? By posing such questions, the exhibition provides visitors a space to consider our current challenges and shared future. At the same time, the works on view also suggest how preparations for war and the aftermath can sometimes lead to surprising instances of ecological regeneration and change.

Following a trajectory that originates in the Civil War era, Devour the Land begins with the 1970s, a dynamic period for both environmental activism and photography. From there, the focus expands to our contemporary moment.

The 60 artists showcased in the exhibition bring a variety of practices and approaches to their work. They range from professional photographic artists and photojournalists to lesser known and emerging photographers; they include Robert Adams, Federica Armstrong, Robert Del Tredici, Joshua Dudley Greer, Terry Evans, Lucas Foglia, Sharon Gilbert, Ashley Gilbertson, Peter Goin, David T. Hanson, Zig Jackson, Stacy Kranitz, Dorothy Marder, Susan Meiselas, Richard Misrach, Barbara Norfleet, Mark Power, Sheila Pree Bright, Jeff Rich, Sim Chi Yin, Sharon Stewart, Robert Toedter, Phil Underdown, and Will Wilson.

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