“Anyone can take pictures. What’s difficult is thinking about them, organizing them, and trying to use them in some way so that some meaning can be constructed out of them. That’s really where the work of the artist begins” –Lewis Baltz
In this 2009 interview at American Suburban X Baltz talks in terms of working with a group of images, making a body of work, the body of work being the unit, not individual images and looking around for subject matter that could sustain that kind of engagement. Baltz thought in terms of the artwork as an ensemble – as a sequence or as a grid –as a book or as a wall piece.
Baltz provides an example of a body of work being a unity in his The new Industrial Parks near Irvine, California’ (1973–5). The subject is the postwar industrial transformation of American landscape.
Having grown up in Irvine, Baltz witnessed the coastal area’s transformation from rows of orange groves to strips of manicured ‘industrial parks’, in which low-slung, non-descript buildings disguised the activities of the booming military and aerospace industries. Erected cheaply for small and medium-sized businesses, they are barely more than decorated sheds – nothing about their exteriors will tell you what is going on inside. Architecture had reduced itself to cost-effective banality. Baltz saw all this as the endgame of modernism.