September 1999

Bernd and Hilla Becher - Wasserturme (Water Towers)   Bernd and Hilla Becher
German, b. 1931
b. 1934
Wassertürme (Water Towers)  1972

gelatin silver prints mounted on paperboard

Collection Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
Justin Smith Purchase Fund, 1996

German artists Bernd and Hilla Becher are a husband and wife team who often photograph European and American architecture. They spend a lot of time choosing their subjects, which include factories, natural gas storage tanks, grain elevators, and water towers. They like these ordinary structures and industrial buildings because of the way they look when many images of them are arranged together. For Wassertürme (Water Towers), nine towers with similar shapes were photographed during the same time of day at an almost identical distance. When they are placed in a grid, you can compare their forms and locations, and see the unique details of each.

© 1999 Walker Art Center

The Artwork of the Month is part of the Walker Art Center's "New Definitions/New Audiences" initiative. This museum-wide project to engage visitors in a reexamination of 20th-century art is made possible by the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund.