Art21 Extended Play

An-My Lê’s “Trap Rock”

"Trap Rock (truck load out)," 2006 Ink-jet print, 38 1/2 x 26 inches. Edition of 5. © An-My Lê, courtesy Murray Guy, New York.

Our latest “Exclusive” has just gone live! This new video short features previously unreleased footage of artist An-My Lê photographing a basalt quarry along the Hudson River. Over the course of numerous visits, Lê used a large-format camera to document changes to the quarry and its dramatic alteration of the surrounding landscape. The photographic series, titled “Trap Rock,” was commissioned by Dia:Beacon. Click here to watch the video.

An-My Lê’s photographs and films often examine the impact, consequences, and representation of war. Whether in color or black-and-white, her pictures frame a tension between the natural landscape and its violent transformation into battlefields. Projects include “Viêt Nam” (1994–98), in which Lê’s memories of a war-torn countryside are reconciled with the contemporary landscape; “Small Wars” (1999–2002), in which Lê photographed and participated in Vietnam War reenactments in South Carolina; and “29 Palms” (2003–04), in which United States Marines preparing for deployment play-act scenarios in a virtual Middle East in the California desert. Suspended between the formal traditions of documentary and staged photography, Lê’s work explores the disjunction between wars as historical events and the ubiquitous representation of war in contemporary entertainment, politics, and collective consciousness.

An-My Lê is featured in the Season 4 (2007) episode Protest of the Art in the Twenty-First Century television series on PBS.

CREDITS | Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Susan Sollins. Camera: Joel Shapiro. Sound: Roger Phenix. Editor Mary Ann Toman. Artwork Courtesy: An-My Lê. Video: © 2011 Art21, Inc. All rights reserved.