After a Flash Flood, Rancho Mirage, California

Joel Sternfeld, American, born 1944

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negative July 1979; print 1984

Dye transfer print

Image: 14 3/16 × 18 in. (36.1 × 45.7 cm)

Sheet: 15 15/16 × 19 13/16 in. (40.5 × 50.4 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Purchased through the William S. Rubin Fund

© Joel Sternfeld

PH.986.25

Geography

Place Made: United States, North America

Period

20th century

Object Name

Photograph

Research Area

Photograph

Not on view

Inscriptions

Signed, in black marker, on reverse, lower right: Joel Sternfeld; dated, in black marker, on reverse, lower right: N-July 1979/P-April 1984; inscribed in black marker, on reverse, lower center: After a Flash Flood, Rancho Mirage, California, July 1979; inscribed, in orange marker, on reverse, lower left: 5 Dye Transfer Print.

Label

From his 1987 monograph American Prospects, Joel Sternfeld’s After a Flash Flood simultaneously engages metaphor and realism to present a particularly American anxiety. The still-standing residential complex juxtaposed closely against the caved-in grounds demonstrates the thin line between idyllic domesticity and potential threats to maintaining it. In capturing the aftermath of this “natural disaster” in a luxury California desert community, Sternfeld provokes a consideration of the untenability of the American attraction to development and wealth.

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

SART 30, SART 75, Photography II, III, Virginia Beahan, Spring 2013

Exhibition History

A Selection of Photographs from the Hood Museum of Art, Jafe-Friede Galleries, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, February 4-March 15, 1987.

Focus on Photography, Works from 1950 to Today, Friends and Owen Robertson Cheatham Galleries, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, January 13-March 8, 2009.

In Residence: Contemporary Art at Dartmouth, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, March 19-July 6, 2014.

Joel Sternfeld, Artist-in-Residence, Jaffe-Friede and Strauss Galleries, Hopkins Center, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, September 23-December 4, 1985, checklist no. 16.

Mining Photography: Selecting Work from the Permanent Collection, Harrington Gallery Teaching Exhibition, Studio Art 30 & 75, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, May 6-June 4, 2000.

This Land: American Engagement with the Natural World, Owen Robertson Cheatham Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire, January 5–April 18, 2022.

Publication History

Emily Shubert Burke, Focus on Photography, Works for 1950 to Today, Hanover, New Hampshire: Trustees of Dartmouth College, 2009, p. 12, no. 20.

Provenance

Daniel Wolf, 19th & 20th Centry Photography, New York, New York; sold to present collection, 1986.

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