524 W 26th Street
Beginning in 1959, Bernd Becher (1931–2007, b. Siegen, Germany) and Hilla Becher (1934–2015, b. Potsdam, Germany) pursued a project of systematically documenting industrial architectural forms—an objective that took inspiration from the precisionist approach of the Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity) artists of the 1920s. The ubiquitous cooling towers, gas tanks, blast furnaces, and grain elevators of the post-war landscape provided the Bechers with the raw matter for their “typologies,” an effort to visually organize and render comparable the unique details of each structure and the intricate relationship between form and function. Important one-person shows include those at Photographic Collection/SK Stiftung Kultur, Cologne (2006, 2010, 2013); the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2008); Nationalgalerie Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2005); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2004); K21 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf (2003); and XLIV Venice Biennale (1990), for which they were awarded the Golden Lion. Their work is held in prominent public collections including the Tate Gallery, London; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; and Kunsthalle Hamburg.