Although Albers did not exhibit his photographs formally or create a great deal of large-scale prints, he was a prolific photographer during his frequent trips to Mexico. The exhibit’s contact sheets reveal his obsessive attention to compositional detail as he documented ancient architectural forms, such as the carved details in the Zapotec Ruins of Mitla, Oaxaca (above). Albers often studied and photographed such patterns from dozens of different angles, later incorporating them into his abstracted paintings.
The exhibition does a marvelous job of juxtaposing Albers’s photographic studies with the corresponding series of paintings, as in the above installation view of his “To Mitla” (top) shown alongside images he shot on location. Many other ancient architectural sites such as the Great Pyramid of Tenayuca (below) find their way into Albers’s nonrepresentational art—demonstrating that the man who seemingly made a career out of his Homage to the Square series actually embarked on and drew from numerous, mysterious geometric explorations.