“Eventual destruction becomes all the more inevitable.” Paper-thin walls sculpted from endangered buildings.
Photography by Hannah Whitaker and the artist.
Jersey Fallout Shelter
Cardboard, T-shirt, paper, glue
7 x 11.5 x .25 inches
Paper, masking tape, pencil, glue
3 x 8 x 5 inches
The Olneyville neighborhood of Providence is split between a derelict industrial sector defined by abandoned mill buildings and a poor Hispanic population. Baltimore-based developer Streuver Brothers turned a few buildings in the area into condos, then bought up tens of buildings with the aim of constructing a mixed-use megadevelopment, characterized by a refurbished “greenway” to be built alongside the currently trash-choked river that runs through the area. Fortunately, the economic downturn, and the inability to persuade professionals from Boston to move into a loft in a neighborhood that hadn’t yet been granted so much as a Starbucks (much less a bank), put a damper on their plans. The building, and tens of others like it in the area, are in a state of limbo; the developer is waiting until the conditions are ripe, but for now the building will remain, but not for long, I assume.
BQE Building, North Brooklyn
Watercolor paper, glue, watercolor
4 x 4.5 x 5.5 inches
Located on the flanks of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in North Brooklyn.
Forest Hills Stadium
Watercolor paper, black paper, glue
9 x 12 x 7 inches
The stadium at the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills hosted the US Open until 1977. Ever since the US Open relocated to a larger facility in Flushing, the club has attempted to find new uses for the stadium—smaller tennis tournaments, concerts, etc. As it falls further into disrepair, its eventual destruction becomes all the more inevitable.
Bob Dylan performed there in ’65, shortly after “going electric” at the Newport Folk Festival. The crowd’s reaction was famously harsh, and Forest Hills ratcheted up the hostility. “If Newport was a spark,” wrote Greil Marcus of the concert, “Forest Hills was a wildfire.... What one hears on tape thirty years later feels like a riot, or a panic, Forest Hills Stadium now the Odessa Steps, and part of the audience alive with the chance to drive everyone else down them.”
St. Louis Freight Depot
Cardboard, thread, watercolor, glue, plastic bag, permanent marker
4 x 12 x 7 inches
The city reminds me of the Rust Belt cities of the North, except the buildings of downtown St. Louis were engineered more for utility than aesthetic pleasure. In Detroit, buildings by great architects sit abandoned. But in St. Louis, the buildings felt more like useless infrastructure.
Watercolor paper, black butcher paper, watercolor, glue
10 x 14 x 4 inches
18 Beaver St.
Chipboard, watercolor paper, glue, pencil
5.5 x 8 x 10 inches
I immediately thought of this building at 18 Beaver Street next to door number 20, the Samuel Lakow building. This strip of four buildings—I think it is 22, 20, 18, and 16, east to west—all seem destined for the demolition ball. Number 2 Broadway towers above them.