In the not-too-distant past, the AP/RC obtained Nagatani’s multiple decades long project, Chromotherapy (1978-2005), and his legendary portfolio, Nuclear Enchantment (1988-1990). Although the images in the latter portfolio referenced Nagatani’s collaboration with painter Andree Tracey, our collection lacked any specific examples of their work together. Three of the images among the recent acquisitions are from this now-infamous partnership, Missile Mentality, Blue Room [Variant], and Beware Artist.
Both artists wrote about working side by side at Polaroid (see Nagatani’s web site), creating theatrical sets and infusing them with performance. Nagantani’s and Tracey’s 1983-89 collaboration is described as beginning, “…when Nagatani was offered 2 days use of a 20” x 24” Polaroid camera. He was a photographer, Andrée Tracey was painter and they occupied studios in the same Los Angeles building. Tracey’s sensibilities coalesced with Nagatani’s ideas and set design experience, and with this alliance, their collaboration was launched. Using aspects of photography, painting, installation, and performance. Working in a theatrical way (we) expanded the boundaries of large format Polaroid 20X24 photography. The recurring theme through much of this work is the threat, the chaos, and the consequences surrounding a nuclear episode. Both artists appear as actors in elaborately constructed and intensely colored images which are peppered with irony and humor despite the darkness that the work forecasts.”
In addition, the AP/RC did not have any the artist’s work from his Nagatani/Ryoichi Excavation project that spanned 1985-2000. Nagatani wrote that, “My photographs of Ryoichi’s excavations present a temporal paradox – evidence of an automobile culture which seems to parallel that of our own twentieth century, but found in widely disparate places and times. I follow Ryoichi’s single-minded, almost obsessive campaign until the team confronts the last site. We read and come to know ‘deep history’ – past before written record – from archaeological sequences read as text.” Five of the images, Ford Explorer, Cadillac Town Car, Cadillac Eldorado, Volkswagon ‘Beetles,’ and Plymouth, are from this series.