Things Fall Apart

Brand-new buildings get photographed for glossy real estate brochures and corporate literature. It’s not art, exactly, but it nets a paycheck. Add a handful of hard-worn decades, the total failure of an American industry, and photographer Katherine Westerhout, however, and you’ll end up with some achingly beautiful art. In a 2008 exhibit in S.F., Westerhout featured large-scale pictures of a smattering of Detroit’s famed abandoned buildings — an aquarium, a boat club, a few theaters. It was strong stuff, freighted with meaning; the buildings were beautiful in their last days, old stars slowly falling apart, with little chance for recovery. For Rust Belt,” she adds Buffalo and Philadelphia to the mix, which have no shortage of blasted structures — grain elevators, Eastern State Penitentiary — ready for one last close up.
Jan. 16-Feb. 27, 2010

 
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