American, born 1955
Jeff Brouws photographically explores the American cultural landscape in its myriad of facets. A self-described “visual anthropologist” with a camera, Jeff Brouws utilizes a constructed narrative and typological approach in the making of his work. Over a span of thirty plus years, Brouws has employed a diversity of themes in his work: the American highway, the franchised landscape, deindustrialized inner city zones, as well as riffing on and re-examining bodies of work by luminary artists such as Ed Ruscha, and Bernd and Hilla Becher. Brouws captures the unique cultural experience of Americana and its iconography, visually documenting a vibrant travelogue through the half-experienced, half-remembered landscape of America’s fading culture. Directing his lens toward these temporary obsolete and abandoned sites of American consciousness, he powerfully transforms images of history and dereliction into contemplative and at times humorous commentary on the collective and expressive experience of the American landscape.
Born in San Francisco in 1955, Brouws is a self-taught photographer. His work is held in major museum collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City; The Nelsen-Atkins Museum, Kansas City; the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the Fogg Museum, Cambridge; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; and the Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton. Brouws has had over 25 one-person exhibitions since 1980, and has been included in numerous exhibitions including the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (2016), Brandhorst Museum (2013), Princeton University Art Museum (2011), Nevada Museum of Art (2011), San Jose Museum of Art (2009), Williams College Art Museum (2003), Norsk Museum of Photography in Norway (2002), and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2000). Published monographs include Approaching Nowhere (W.W. Norton and Company, 2006); Readymades: American Roadside Artifacts (Chronicle Books, 2003); Inside the Live Reptile Tent: The Twilight World of the Carnival Midway (Chronicle Books, 2001); Highway: America’s Endless Dream (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 1997); and Twenty-six Abandoned Gasoline Stations (Gas-N-Go Publications, 1992).