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Indepth Arts News:

"Ando Constructed: Photographs of the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts by Robert Pettus, Curated by Mel Watkin"
2001-09-07 until 2001-11-14
Forum for Contemporary Art
St. Louis, MO, USA

More than ten years ago, the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts put into motion an architectural project that would culminate with the construction of the first public Tadao Ando building in the United States. When construction on the building began three years ago, the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts commissioned nationally recognized architectural photographer Robert Pettus to photograph the process.

For three years prior to its completion, Pettus spent weekends roaming the construction site analyzing every detail. Alone, without the construction crew's presence, he shot hundreds of images that reflect the minimalist elegance of the Pulitzer Foundation's building and collection, which includes among its holdings, numerous works by Ellsworth Kelly and Richard Serra.

Robert Pettus' exhibition at the Forum for Contemporary Art (FCA) will consist of five to 10 photographic arrangements that do not document the building's construction so much as they capture its essence. Each arrangement will consist of three to 12 close-up photographs that, when seen together, create simple poems of light, texture and shape. In one photograph light falling across the bright red liner of a reflecting pool create an abstraction in red and black worthy of Barnett Newman. In another arrangement close-up shots of blackened concrete forms broken up by white circles of light read as a flat, but refined painting, dotted with luminosity.

Robert Pettus has been a major influence in St. Louis' architectural circles for many years. He received his degree in architecture from St. Louis' Washington University in 1964, where he has taught since 1974. Immediately after his graduation from Washington University, he took a position with Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum, St. Louis' biggest architectural firm. Eventually Pettus struck out on his own establishing Robert Pettus/Architectural Photography in 1974. His photographic works have appeared in major architectural magazines including: Architectural Record, Architecture, Domus, and Japan Architecture. His work also has been featured in The New York Times Sunday Magazine. He has exhibited numerous times including recent exhibitions at Martin Schweig Gallery, St. Louis, and the University of Missouri at St. Louis, the Saint Louis Art Museum and the Tucson Art Museum. Pettus' work can be found in a number of public and private collections including: the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., A.G. Edwards and Mark Twain Bank (FirsStar) in St. Louis.

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