As part of its ongoing efforts to add contemporary readings to the mythology of the American West, Joslyn Art Museum recently opened Dirt Meridian, an exhibition of large-scale color photographs by sense-of-place documentarian Andrew Moore that continues into the first of next year.
An image maker whose works unpack the life of agricultural and urban landscapes through years-long photographic studies, Moore has been focusing his attention since 2005 on the 100th meridian, the global longitudinal axis that also has the distinction of dividing America quite neatly in half between east and west. It is also known as the “Frontier Strip,” and is the zone that roughly divides the lush prairies from the arid plains.
For this project, Moore headquartered himself in the small panhandle community of Rushville, NE. While the meridian also runs through the Dakotas, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, the majority of images are from this region and survey the terrain from the ground and especially from the air, where the undulating sweep and epic vastness of the landscape are more easily observed.
Moore’s project reveals aspects of agricultural and mining life away from population centers. To be sure, his images do include a bit of ruin porn (abandoned structures reclaimed by the earth) and some gorgeous vistas in perfect raking light. But he mostly maintains a prosaic style, featuring landscapes that underscore the harsh conditions of dry climates by capturing them in their least verdant seasons.
Dirt Meridian: Photographs by Andrew Moore runs through January 8, 2017, at Joslyn Art Museum. There is an admission fee for this show. The museum is located at 2200 Dodge Street. For further information, visit www.joslyn.org or call 402/342-3300.