Karen Halverson: Mulholland

By Karen Halverson

Text by David Kipen



12 x 9 inches
96 pages
40 color illustrations
ISBN: 9781735762906

Photographer Karen Halverson first fell in love with Mulholland Drive after seeing David Hockney’s, twenty-foot long painting, “Mulholland Drive: The Road to the Studio” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A few years after that, she moved to Los Angeles and encountered the real Mulholland Drive, a road that twists and turns for fifty-two miles along the crest of the Santa Monica Mountains from the Pacific Ocean to Hollywood. She likens the drive, which she has made hundreds of times, to “watching a movie full of jump cuts… There you are maneuvering the curves of the road while spectacular images roll by left and right. Mind the turns and the oncoming cars, but catch the views as best you can—native chaparral followed by swaths of hot pink groundcover, arching succulents that look like saxophones, sheared off hillsides, limos cruising along, movie sets and construction sites, houses on stilts, even houses perched on precipices, finally the iconic Hollywood sign, and everywhere, the vast city below.” Her panoramic photographs of this legendary road show the breathtaking natural landscape that is now inextricably entwined with the built environment. Mulholland presents a unique portrait of this quintessential American city, in a dramatic horizontal format that emphasizes the wild terrain that lies beneath the glamorous City of Angels.

Additional information

Weight 2.6 lbs
Dimensions 9 × 12.5 × .5 in
Edition Selection

Standard, Signed

About the Author

As a small child in Syracuse, New York, Karen Halverson's mother took her and her siblings us on an 8,000 mile, three-month road trip around the American West. She saw at a young age saw how dramatically different the western landscape was from what she knew of the Northeastern US. Later, she was living in New York City and working towards a Ph.D. in anthropology but became interested in taking photographs. She left academia behind and in the early 1980s began traveling to the West regularly to photograph. She is still enthralled by the western landscape, but the human presence is also part of her investigation. Recently she has been exploring the natural and cultural landscapes of New Orleans, Detroit, South Florida, and in the Northeast.

Over the last decade, the Beinecke Library at Yale University has acquired close to 400 of her photographs for its permanent collection, with an emphasis on her work from the American West. In 2018, some of her photographs were included in the Beinecke's exhibition "Eye on the West" and in the catalog of the exhibition published by Yale University Press. Her monograph Downstream: Encounters with the Colorado River, University of California Press, 2008.