Model A Woody, National Radio Astronomy Observator (VLA), Plains of St. Agustin, New Mexico, U.S.A. (R26, From Yoichi Excavations

Patrick Nagatani, American, 1945 - 2017


negative 1997; print 2001

Tone gelatin silver print

Image: 6 × 7 15/16 in. (15.2 × 20.1 cm)

Sheet: 8 × 10 in. (20.3 × 25.4 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Gift of Bart Osman, Class of 1990, Tuck 1996



Place Made: United States, North America


20th century

Object Name


Research Area


Not on view


Inscribed and signed, along bottom, from left to right, in black: MODEL A WOODY, NATIONAL RADIO ASTRONOMY OBSERVATORY (VLA), PLAINS OF ST. AUGUSTIN, NEW MEXICO, U.S.A. 1997 / 2001 R26/ += [small graphic] PATRICK NAGATANI; inscribed, in black, bottom center: 12/30


In the series Nagatani/Ryoichi Excavations, photographer Patrick Nagatani explores the role of photography in both documenting and creating history through the “scientific” examination of the landscape. Documenting the excavations of fictitious Japanese archaeologist Ryoichi—a character played by Nagatani—the artist presents a temporal paradox through the existence of an “automobile culture” at disparate archaeological sites and time periods throughout the world. Although the archaeological team covered up all evidence of their digs, the photographic record seen here, as well as maps and site plans, remain, challenging our understanding of evidence and our approach to studying the unknown.

Nagatani writes: "This project expresses my interest in testing the realities that can exist within the realm of photography and physical documentation. I am interested in how the photograph is also recognized less as a window on the “real,” and far more as a malleable picture space—constructed and contrived for the purpose of examining representation rather than reality. I am interested in the potential of photography to tell a story. "

From the 2022 exhibition This Land: American Engagement with the Natural World, curated by Jami C. Powell, Curator of Indigenous Art; Barbara J. MacAdam, former Jonathan L. Cohen Curator of American Art; Thomas H. Price, former Curatorial Assistant; Morgan E. Freeman, former DAMLI Native American Art Fellow; and Michael Hartman, Jonathan Little Cohen Associate Curator of American Art

Course History

ANTH 7.05, Animals and Humans, Laura Ogden, Winter 2022

GEOG 31.01, Postcolonial Geographies, Erin Collins, Winter 2022

ANTH 50.05, Environmental Archaeology, Madeleine McLeester, Winter 2022

ANTH 50.05, Environmental Archaeology, Madeleine McLeester, Winter 2022

ARTH 5.01, Introduction to Contemporary Art, Mary Coffey and Chad Elias, Winter 2022

ANTH 3.01, Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, Chelsey Kivland, Summer 2022

ANTH 3.01, Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, Chelsey Kivland, Summer 2022

SPAN 65.15, Wonderstruck: Archives and the Production of Knowledge in an Unequal World, Silvia Spitta and Barbara Goebel, Summer 2022

Exhibition History

This Land: American Engagement with the Natural World, Owen Robertson Cheatham Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire, January 5–April 20, 2022.


Bart Osman, Stamford, Connecticut; given to present collection, 2004.

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