Alex Maclean

Alex Maclean

  • Introduction

  • CV

  • Exhibitions

  • Publications

The Flying Eye

Alex S. MacLean’s (*1947) pictures have something healing about them. They bring to order to what seems at ground level chaotic. The photographer has seen nearly all of the US and Europe from above and shows us the structures of Western lifestyle, told as an overview of growth and decay, of planting and harvesting, of our need to be motorized and on the move and how such a course ends. The abstract concept of spatial order makes sense with the advantage of a bird’s-eye view. MacLean reveals the difference between the natural and the constructed aspects of the environment and most recently took photos of aspects of climate change, taking us with each image to a place we think we know but have never seen like this.

MacLean is a trained architect whose excellent sense of space also qualifies him beyond that field, particularly in landscape architecture. Over the last years he has published numerous collections of photos; his works have been shown across the US, including at the AIPAD Show Miami, as well as extensively at the Arles photo festival. He keeps a studio in Cambridge and lives in Lincoln, Massachusetts.

1969Harvard College, B.A.
1973Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Master in Architecture
1975Commercial Pilot License
Studion in Cambridge
lives in Lincoln, Massachusetts, USA


Awards (Selection)

2006Boston Society of Landscape Architects: Award of Excellence
2004-2003American Academy in Rome: Awarded the Rome Prize in Landscape Architecture for 2003-2004
2003Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts: Grant Recipient, "The Urban Edge: Aerial Illustrations of Contemporary European Growth Patterns"
2002Kansas City Design Center: First recipient of the Center's resident design fellowship. Participant in project entitled "Sustaining a Sense of Region: Civic Dialogues on Ecology, Urbanism, and Metropolitan Growth"
Lincoln Institute of Land Policy: Grant Recipient, "Visualizing Density", Joint Research Project with Julie Campoli, Landscape Architect
1997The American Institute of Architects: Eighth Annual Citation for Excellence in International Architecture Book Publishing awarded to "Taking Measures Across the American Landscape"
The American Society of Landscape Architects: Honor Award in Communications bestowed upon "Taking Measures Across the American Landscape"
Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts: Grant Recipient, "The Relation of Inner Cities and Outer Cities between New Haven, CT and New York City", Joint Research Project with Dolores Hayden, Yale University School of Architecture Professor of Architecture and Urbanism and Professor of American Studies
1995Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts: Grant Recipient, "Historical and Contemporary Land Patterns in Vermont", Research and Development for Exhibit and Book Project
Eleventh Annual American Photography Competition: Certificate of Excellence
1994Seaside Institute, Escape to Create Program: Artist in Residence
1992Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts: Grant Recipient, "Taking Measures Across the American Landscape", Exhibit and Book Project
1990-1992National Endowment for the Arts Design Grant: Co-principal Investigator in affiliation with the University of Pennsylvania Department of Landscape Architecture, Landscape Registration Project
1989/1979The Massachusetts Art Fellowship Program: Finalist
1988Artists' Liaison Exhibition: Finalist
1985Massachusetts One Percent for Arts Program: Grant Recipient, Madonna Hall Commission
1980-1981National Endowment for the Arts Design Grant: Demonstration project exploring the uses of aerial photography for urban planning
1980Ossabaw Foundation: Project Member


Collections (Selection)

3M Corporation
American Bell
Arthur Anderson and Company
Bank of America
Banque Nationale de Paris
Chase Manhattan Bank
Citibank, N.A.
Consolidated Freight
Dean Witter Reynolds
DeCordova Museum
Dunn and Bradstreet
Federal Express
Federal Reserve Bank, Boston
Fidelity Investments
First Boston
Fleet Bank, Boston
GTE
George H. W. Bush Library
Goldman Sachs
Dudley and G. Herschbach
Hood Museum, Dartmouth College
IBM
Merrill Lynch and Company
Metropolitan Life
Museum of Contemp.Photo., Chicago
North Dakota Museum of Art
Northrop Corporation
NYNEX
Progressive Companies
J. P. Morgan
Reliance Holding Group
Security Pacific Bank
Smith Barney
Steven Spielberg
Texaco
Texas Instruments
Citizen's Bank, USA
Institut d’art Contemporain
Jean-Pierre Michaux
Jean Louis Maubant
Centre Pompidou
Arthur & Trudy Golden
Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporaneo

Solo Exhibitions (Selection)

2007American Artifacts, Gallery Gabrielle Maubrie, Paris, France
Wellesley College, Horticulture Visitor Center, Wellesley, MA, USA
2006Italian and French Landscapes, Panopticon Gallery of Photography, Waltham, MA, USA
2005Airlines, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA, USA
2003Patterns on the Land, Gallery Katz, Boston, MA, USA
Kansas City Design Center: Towards the Horizon, Commerce Trust Gallery, Kansas City, MO, USA
Panopticon Gallery of Photography, Waltham, MA, USA
Americaland, BETC Euro RSCG with the French Ministry of Culture and Communication, Paris, France
2002Play in America Seen from the Sky, Les Rencontres d’Arles 33rd Annual International Photo Festival, Arles, France
Urbanscapes, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA
Perspectives, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, Boston, MA, USA
2001American Institute of Architects (local chapter), Dallas, TX, USA
2000From Above: Photographs of Houston, The Menil Collection, Houston, TX, USA
1997Taking Measures Across the American Landscape, Kathleen Ewing Gallery, Washington, D.C., USA
1994Aerial Landscapes, Seaside Institute, Seaside, FL, USA
1993Aerial Landscapes, Boston Society of Architects, Boston, MA, USA
Looking at the Land, Kathleen Ewing Gallery, Washington, DC, USA
Aerial Perspectives, Lincoln Library, Lincoln, MA, USA
1990From the Air, Kathleen Ewing Gallery, Washington, DC, USA
1988Bell Ross Gallery, Memphis, TN, USA
1987Bain and Company, Boston, MA, USA
1986Currier House, Radcliffe College, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA
1984Bank of America Office Headquarters, San Francisco, CA, USA
San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco, CA, USA
1980Panopticon Gallery of Photography, Boston, MA, USA
1978Alfred Stieglitz Gallery, New York, NY, USA
Baker Library, Harvard University Business School, Cambridge, MA, USA
1977North Street Gallery, Boston, MA, USA


Group Exhibitions (Selection)

2007Italian Atlas 2007 Portrait of a Changing Italy, National Museum of the XXI Century, Rome, Italy
 Moving Through New England, DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln, MA, USA
TO FLY: Contemporary Aerial Photography, Boston University Art Gallery, Boston, MA, USA
2006Painters of Modern Life: Donation – The Caisse des Depots, Photographic Collection, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (is now part of the permanent collection of the Musee national d’art moderne)
Looking at the Landscape: Environmental Puzzles from Three Photographers, Harvard Museum of Natural History, Cambridge, MA, USA
2005Les temps des lumieres, Nancy, France
Manufactured Self, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, Il, USA
2004Inhabiting the World, Forum Universal de les Cultures, Barcelona, Spain
Shock and Awe, Art Works for the Earth, New Orleans, LA, USA
Landscapes, Issabella/Brancolini Arte Contemporanea, Rome, Italy
Structure; Architecture in Photography, Gallery Katz, Boston, MA, USA
Shrinking Cities, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany
2002Water: An Exhibition of Photography by ASMP New England Photographers, Akillian Gallery at Massasoit Community College, Canton, MA, USA
2001Mutations: Événement Culturel sur la Ville Contemporaine, Arc en Rêve Centre d’Architecture, Brussels, Belgium
Landscapes Seen and Imagined: Sense of Place and Water: Photographs from the Permanent Collection,  DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln, MA, USA
2000Mutations: Événement Culturel sur la Ville Contemporaine, Arc en Rêve Centre d’Architecture, Bordeaux, France
1999The American Lawn: Surface of Everyday Life, The Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal, Québec, Canada
1998Drive-Ins: Disappearing Summer Cinema, Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York, NY, USA
Post-Pastoral: New Images of the New England Landscape, The Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, USA
Water, Water, Everywhere . . . and Not a Drop to Drink, Kathleen Ewing Gallery, Washington, D.C., USA
Ground Control, Lombard/Fried Fine Arts, New York, NY, USA
1997 Let It Snow!, Kathleen Ewing Gallery, Washington, D.C., USA
Aerial Perspectives: Imagination, Reality and Abstraction, D.C. Moore Gallery, New York, NY, USA
Lasting Impressions: Looking at the Land, The New Art Center in Newton, Newtonville, MA, USA
1996The DeCordova Collects Photographs: Recent Acquisitions, DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln, MA, USA
Silver Traces, The Boston Photo Collaborative, Boston, MA, USA
1993Taking Measures Across the American Landscape, University of Pennsylvania, School of Landscape Architecture, Philadelphia, PA, USA
Taking Measures Across the American Landscape, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, MA, USA
1991Good Sports: Art and the Athlete, Nutrilite Exhibit, Buena Park, CA, USA
1990Images of New England, The Wrubel Gallery, Concord, MA, USA
1989In Search of the American Experience, Museum of the National Arts Foundation, New York, NY, USA
1988Aerial Views of the Landscape, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, MA, USA
1987The Edge of Perception, Gensler and Associates/Architects, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Skyborne: Aerial Photography, North Dakota Museum of Art, Grand Forks, ND, USA
1986One Percent for Art and the Rebirth of Madonna Hall, The Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield, MA, USA
1984Urban Landscapes, Wilhelm Gallery, Houston, TX, USA
Highlights from the Bank of America Collection, Bank of America Office Headquarters, San Francisco, CA, USA
1983H20, Pan American Building, New York, NY, USA (Museum of Modern Art Advisory Service, curator)
Contemporary Landscapes, Freeport McMoran, New York, NY, USA (Museum of Modern Art Advisory Service, curator)


Books/Catalogs (Selection)

Visualizing Density, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Co-Authors: Julie Campoli and Alex MacLean, aerial photographs by Alex MacLean, Cambridge, MA, 2007

The Playbook, Thames and Hudson, Aerial photographs and Essay by Alex MacLean, introduction text by Susan Yelavich, New York, NY, 2006

Air Lines, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA, 2005
Air Lines is a 29 page catalogue produced by the Peabody Essex Museum in conjunction with MacLean's solo exhibition (May, 2005 - April, 2006)

L'Arpenteur du Ciel, Paris, France, 2003
Textuel book coinciding with "Americaland", a major exhibit of Alex MacLean's work, with aerial photographs by Alex MacLean, Co-Authors: Jean-Marc Besse, James Corner, Alex MacLean, and Gilles Tiberghien

Designs on the Land: Exploring America from the Air, Thames and Hudson, New York, NY, 2003
The Limitless City: A Primer on the Urban Sprawl Debate, Island Press, Author: Oliver Gillham, with aerial photographs by Alex MacLean, Washington, DC, 2002

Above and Beyond: Visualizing Change in Rural Areas, APA Planners Press, Aerial photographs by Alex MacLean, Co-authors: Julie Campoli, Elizabeth Humstone, and Alex MacLean, Chicago, 2002

Vestiges of Grandeur: The Plantations of Louisiana's River Road, Chronicle Books), by Richard Sexton, aerial photographs by Alex MacLean, San Francisco, 1999

Taking Measures Across the American Landscape, Yale University Press, Aerial photographs by Alex MacLean. Co-authors: James Corner, and Alex MacLean, New Haven, 1996

Cities of the Mississippi: 19th Century Images of Urban Development, University of Missouri Press, Author: John W. Reps, with aerial photographs by Alex MacLean, Columbia, 1994

Look at the Land: Aerial Reflections on America, Rizzoli, Author: Alex MacLean with text by Bill McKibbin, aerial photographs by Alex MacLean, New York, 1993

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