Luigi Ghirri: Cardboard Landscapes

The Museum of Modern Art, New York

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Sarah Hermanson Meister
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
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Italian photographer Luigi Ghirri (1943–1992) coined the term “sentimental geography” to describe a unique artistic approach in which the ordinary was worthy of scrutiny. In March 1975, on a visit to New York, the esteemed art historian Arturo Carlo Quintavalle hand delivered a unique representation of Ghirri’s work to John Szarkowski, director of MoMA’s Department of Photography at the time. Among the items Quintavalle donated to the Museum on behalf of the artist was a handbound album of 111 photographs from the early 1970s titled Paesaggi di cartone, or Cardboard Landscapes. The volume was then deposited in the departmental collection, where it remained, out of sight, for nearly four decades. Of his dozens of publications (many of them issued by the art press he ran with his wife), nearly all are now out of print, and few have been translated into English. Now this luxe facsimile edition makes Ghirri’s singular, all but unknown presentation album available to the public for the first time—at a moment of increasing recognition of Ghirri’s significance in the history of photography.