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Proving Ground.

Photographs by David Maisel. Text by Geoff Manaugh and Katie Lee-Koven and Tyler Green and William Fox.
Radius Books/Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art, Utah State University, 2020. 250 pp., 145 illustrations, 11¾x11¾x1¼".

Publisher's Description

Aerial and on-site photographs made at a classified military site in the Great Salt Lake Desert by David Maisel, author of Black Maps

David Maisel's Proving Ground comprises aerial and on-site photographs made at Dugway Proving Ground, a vast military compound covering nearly 800,000 acres in Utah's Great Salt Lake Desert. A primary mission of Dugway is to develop, test and implement chemical and biological weaponry and defense programs. The site is key to the national security arena and an enigma to almost everyone else. As with Maisel's other subjects of investigation, Proving Ground is freighted with questions surrounding power, secrecy, land use, and an abiding skepticism toward technology and human endeavor. 

After more than a decade of inquiry to the Pentagon, Maisel was granted access to Dugway in order to photograph the terrain, testing facilities and zones of toxic weapons deployment. Maisel began by photographing at ground level, focusing on structures related to the testing of chemical weapons dispersal patterns. He moved then to an aerial perspective to create abstracted, immersive images of weapons testing grids that appear as large-scale minimalist drawings inscribed on the land. Maisel's work at Dugway also includes photographs of the newly minted WSLAT (Whole System Live Agent Test) laboratory, which is devoted to identification and neutralization of chemical and biological toxins that can be weaponized by terrorists or rogue nations. Proving Ground  is a critical response to the extraordinary formal and political aspects embedded at Dugway, in Maisel's words, a 'hidden, walled-off and secret site that offers the opportunity to reflect on who and what we are collectively, as a society.' With illuminating essays by William L. Fox, Tyler Green, Katie Lee-Koven, and Geoff Manaugh.


Limited Edition of 25: Includes a copy of the book with an archival pigment print of Air Force Target Grid Building 4, 2014. (Pictured Below, Click to Enlarge)
Image size: 15 x 20 inches, Paper size: 20 x 25 inches


Cat# DT706H Hardbound [Signed] $70.00 (978-1942185666)
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