A film about Mark Ruwedel, an artist who retraced the path of incomplete and abandoned 19th century railroads.
THE FILMThis a film about Mark Ruwedel, an artist who has been photographing the American and Canadian West for the last 25 years.
While at work in Utah in the 1980s, Ruwedel began photographing a series of rock cuts made during the heyday of the American railroad.
Ruwedel continued to catalog these rock cuts for the next two decades, using railroad-era maps and photographs to retrace the roots of dozens of independent company lines. He quickly expanded his project to include miles of railroad beds, trestle bridges, and other structures that had been first built with specific purposes, but were later left abandoned as the transcontinental route neared completion.
Through interviews with the artist and experts on his work, this film will describe the important historical events—from the completion of the transcontinental railroad to the 20th century atomic race—and the art historical periods–from 19th century landscape photography to 1970s land art–that shaped Ruwedel’s 2008 book of photographs, Westward The Course of Empire.
About Mark RuwedelMark Ruwedel teaches at California State University, Long Beach. His recent work, a survey of abandoned desert homes, is on view at Yossi Milo Gallery in New York.
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