David Maisel      Works  |  Bio  |  Press  |  Exhibition Views


American, b. 1961
Lives and works in San Francisco, California

David Maisel’s carefully constructed, reality-based photographs chronicle the complex relationships between natural systems and human intervention. His investigative process and project-based practice illuminate the notion of place—through observation of natural phenomenon, the effects of the built environment, and what is revealed by societal detritus. His predominantly large-scaled photographs have demonstrated the physical transformation of the landscape caused by industrial efforts. By implementing an aerial perspective, Maisel observes and abstracts the landscape into photographic evidence that would otherwise be unattainable.

Proving Ground, Maisel’s exhibition at Haines Gallery, is based on his work at Dugway Proving Ground, a classified military installation in Utah’s Great Salt Lake Desert devoted to testing and development of chemical and biological weapons and defense systems. 

His work has also been the subject of five monographs: The Lake Project (Nazraeli Press, 2004), Oblivion (Nazraeli Press, 2006), Library of Dust (Chronicle Books, 2008), History’s Shadow (Nazraeli Press, 2011), and Black Maps (Steidl, 2013). Upcoming monographs include Proving Ground (Steidl, 2018) and Mount St Helens: Afterlife (Ivorypress, 2018). Maisel’s photographs, multi-media projects, and public installations have recently been exhibited at Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR (2008); Somerset House, London, UK (2013); American Academy, Rome, Italy (2014); National Gallery of Art, Washington DC (2015); San Jose Museum of Art (2015); ZKM Museum, Karlsruhe, Germany (2016); HALLE 14 Center for Contemporary Art, Leipzig, Germany; (2016); Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Stanford University, CA; and Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, CA (2016). His works are included in many public collections, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK; Brooklyn Museum of Art, NY; George Eastman House, Rochester, NY; Minneapolis Institute of Arts, MN; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, CA; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT; and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX. Maisel was a Scholar in Residence at the Getty Research Institute (2007), and an Artist in Residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts (2008). He has been the recipient of an Individual Artist’s Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (1990), Investing in Artists Grant from the Center for Cultural Innovation (2012), and was shortlisted for the Prix Pictet Award and the Alpert Award in the Visual Arts (both 2008). In 2018, Maisel was awarded Guggenheim Fellowship in Creative Arts from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in New York, NY.