East Broadway Breakdown.
Photographs by Christopher Wool.
Holzwarth Publications, Berlin, 2003. 320 pp., 160 black-and-white illustrations, 8½x11".
Between 1994 and 1995, Christopher Wool shot a series of photographs in downtown New York City that he calls East Broadway Breakdown, after a street on the Lower East Side, the neighborhood where he lives and works. Taken at night using a 35 mm camera, the pictures feature the city's signature streets with their dilapidated storefronts and ramshackle staircases leading up to anonymous spaces. The high contrast images are often hard to read, producing, rather than coherent images, seemingly random forms that emerge from skewed camera angles. Like his paintings, Wool's photographs hover between abstraction and representation, forcing viewers to confront their desire for visual coherence while offering an alternative construct for picture-making today.
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