Although the title American Landscape may evoke a rural scene, Sheeler’s subject here is the Ford Motor Company plant on the River Rouge near Detroit, Michigan. In 1927 he had photographed the plant extensively, and he would go on to examine it in works in a number of mediums. While these works experiment with arrangements of hard–edged forms and shifting planes, they also make clear how innovative American industry was during these years, how it was generating a radically new American landscape and experience. Missing from Sheeler’s images are the people who worked in the factory, perhaps reflecting an ambivalence about the country’s shift toward the industrial.
Gallery label from American Modern: Hopper to O’Keeffe, August 17, 2013–January 26, 2014 .