• Public and Private: East Germany in Photographs by Ulrich Wüst
    Gary Van Zante
    Kerber Publishers, 2022
    Gary Van Zante

Ulrich Wüst, Magdeburg, 1982. Courtesy of the artist.

Photographer and urban planner Ulrich Wüst (b. 1949) began making photographs of GDR cities in the 1970s. Through the camera he found the means to interrogate socialist city planning, which had failed to meet the challenges of postwar reconstruction. His most important work, City Views (1979–1987) is an uncompromising critique of the public realm and the realities of city building in the GDR. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, his work reached an international audience for the first time, and has come to be recognized as one of the strongest aesthetic statements made in the socialist state. This book is the first monograph and first work in English on Wüst. It examines his work from the perspective of urban and architectural history (in detailed analyses of the photographers' subjects) and discusses the place of his work in the context of an emerging understanding of art practice under socialism.

Gary Van Zante is curator of architecture and design and former director of exhibitions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Museum, where he has organized and curated exhibitions ranging from sixteenth century architectural graphics to contemporary design practice and photography. He has organized more than 60 exhibitions at MIT since 2002, and was guest curator at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Virginia; the Multimedia Art Museum of Moscow; and the Municipal Art Society of New York, among other institutions. Prior to MIT he was head of the Southeastern Architectural Archive at Tulane University and taught in the School of Architecture’s preservation program. He has also been a curator at the University of Chicago, and worked as writer and archivist in architectural practice in Chicago, for SOM, and HBRA. Van Zante has published numerous articles and books on the urban history and photography of New Orleans, coauthored a book on Polaroid photography, as well as a forthcoming Steidl book on Harold Edgerton.