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About the Exhibition

The garage is, in many respects, the perfect exemplar of an inner landscape—a -self-contained terrain, both secular and shrine-like, necessary yet neglected.

– Lewis Koch


Opening Party | July 22, 2:00–4:00

MOWA | West Bend

With sharp photographic focus and poetic deadpan wit, Madison-based photographer Lewis Koch trains his lens upon an often-overlooked fixture of American life: the wood-framed, one-car garage. Originally exhibited in 1983 as an installation inside Koch’s own garage, Garage Interiors: The Topography of Hidden Space is a series of formal, almost diagnostic black-and-white prints. The underlying construct posits that if the automobile is the brain, then the garage is the skull, and the crumbling brick walls, cracked concrete floors, aged wooden beams, and dusty castoff artifacts found inside are the “membrane of memory.”  Koch’s naturally lit, beautifully stark, documentary-style photographs of a built environment related to our automobile-oriented culture recall the historic 1975 New Topographics exhibition, which captured man-altered landscapes of the West, eroded by industrial development and suburban sprawl. Koch’s work builds upon many of the themes and compositional references of photographers Lewis Baltz and Robert Adams, while also channeling the irreducible logic of Duchamp’s readymades.

Born in Lynbrook, New York in the late 1940s, Lewis Koch moved to Wisconsin in 1967 to study history and philosophy at Beloit College. His photographs, which he develops and prints at his home studio in Madison, have been exhibited in group and solo exhibitions worldwide. Koch has extensive publication credits, and his work can be found in the permanent collections of renowned institutions, such as the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, the Art Institute of Chicago, Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

MOWA is excited to celebrate Lewis Koch’s long and distinguished career and is honored to include his work in our permanent collection.

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Support for this exhibition
generously provided by

The James and Karen Hyde Fund

Thomas J. Rolfs Family Foundation