After more than a decade of inquiry, the artist David Maisel was granted access to photograph the terrain and testing facilities of Dugway Proving Ground, a classified military site covering nearly 800,000 acres in a remote region of Utah’s Great Salt Lake Desert. This is a site where chemical and biological weaponry and defense programs were developed, tested and implemented by the U.S. government. Maisel began by photographing at ground level before moving to an overhead and aerial perspective. The result is a remarkable series of photographs that addresses questions of power, secrecy and land use, all collected in a single volume and freighted with an abiding skepticism toward technology and human endeavor. Please join The Commonwealth Club and Maisel in conversation to discuss his work, the site and the larger issues of power and surveillance that his book, Proving Ground, brings to the fore at a very acute time in American democracy.
David Maisel in Conversation with Getty Curator Virginia Heckert
David Maisel Discusses "Proving Ground" with Virginia Heckert, Curator, Department of Photographs, J. Paul Getty Museum
25 February 2020