The Transparent City.
Photography by Michael Wolf, essays by Natasha Egan and Geoff Manaugh.
Aperture, New York, 2008. 112 pp., 60 four-color illustrations., 10½x13¾".
Chicago, like many urban centers throughout the world, has recently undergone a
surge in new construction, grafting a new layer of architectural experimentation onto
those of past eras. In early 2007, the Museum of Contemporary Photography‚ with the
support of U.S. Equities Realty, invited Michael Wolf as an artist-in-residence. Bringing
his unique perspective on changing urban environments to a city renowned for its
architectural legacy, Wolf chose to photograph the central
downtown area, focusing
specifically on issues of voyeurism and the contemporary urban landscape in flux.
This is Wolf’s first body of work to address an American city. Whereas prior series
have juxtaposed humanizing details within the surrounding geometry of the urban
landscape, in The Transparent City, his details are fragments of life—digitally distorted
and hyper-enlarged—snatched surreptitiously via telephoto lenses: Edward Hopper
meets Blade Runner. The material resonates with all the formalism of the constructed,
architectonic work for which Wolf is well-known, but also emphasizes the conceptual
underpinnings of his ongoing engagement with the idea of how modern life unfolds
within the framework of the ever-growing contemporary city.
Read Charles Dee Mitchell's review of The Transparent City in photo-eye Magazine.
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