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The need for quality laborers throughout the United States increased dramatically in the early 20th century as the country’s political and industrial power advanced. Compare the heroic qualities of Mahonri Young’s Riding the Girder with Chris Dunker’s Q-Bop Ducts with Plant Overview Looking North. How has the relationship between industry and American identity changed over the last 75 years?

Hidden image


Dunker’s photographs document the dismantling of the Geneva Steel factory that was sold to China, signaling a shift in industrial power from the United States to Asia. This once-thriving plant relied on thousands of laborers from Utah County.

Note the viewer’s vantage point in both the painting and the photograph. The elevated position of the viewer, hovering in the air over the skyline, makes the machinery appear heroic and awe-inspiring.