Bomb, Destroyed Vehicles and Lone Rock, Bravo 20 Bombing Range, Nevada, 1987


Richard Misrach (American, born 1949)




Dye coupler print


Contact the museum for more information


Purchase with funds from Lucinda W. Bunnen for the Bunnen Collection

Accession #


On View

Currently not on view

This bleak, rugged landscape looks like a scene from another planet. Notice the variation of textures: the clumped earth in the foreground, the scattered sharp metal objects, the soothing softness of the sky. This is not a distant planet—it is a bombing range in Nevada, where the U.S. Navy tested bombs on public land considered sacred by the Northern Paiute Indians. In 1979, Richard Misrach began Desert Cantos, an ongoing series of large-format photographs that explore “the collision between civilization and nature” in the deserts of the American West. The Cantos comprise thousands of photographs spanning decades and include prints that are lyrical, joyous, horrific, and ironic. They often record moments of human violence and indifference set against landscapes of exquisite natural beauty. In his photographs of natural and human-made disasters, nuclear test sites, space shuttle launches, and tourist meccas, Misrach raises probing questions about the complex relationship between man and the environment. Bomb, Destroyed Vehicles and Lone Rock captures the lonesome beauty of the Nevada wilderness and the scars inflicted on it by humankind.