WORK IN PROGRESS ON IN PROGRESS WORK
a collaborative project featuring Carl Gunhouse, Matthew Schenning, and Jason John Würm
June 28 – August 31, 2014
While much of contemporary street photography needs time before its true essence fully develops, for styles and ideas to transform into something unfamiliar, thus igniting our imaginations and sense of nostalgia, the images in Work In Progress On In Progress Work need no time to resonate.
Made between 2011-2013, the images in this exhibition engage our curiosity and speak to the vibrancy and culture of a city in constant flux, one that adapts daily to global influences and events, migration and immigration— a place that is zoned and rezoned, invaded and evacuated, modeled and remodeled until the skies are jagged with concrete peaks. In the chaos of its unique transformations, New York stands to serve as a sample of so many cities that are forced to transform in the face of the future.
Work in Progress On in Progress Work’s original incarnation as the Tumblr site dtwnbklyn.tumblr.com , where Carl Gunhouse, Matthew Schenning, and Jason John Würm anonymously share their photographs on a daily basis, breaks the traditional, linear model of photojournalism, creating a multi-dimensional narrative investigating the complexities of urban renewal. The images below are a live feed from the Tumblr site; an archive that expands on a daily basis.
Gunhouse, Schenning, and Würm share a deep interest in history and a passion for straight-photography. With a group aesthetic rooted in New York City street photography from the 1960’s and 1970’s, the nature of the project owes its inspiration to Bernice Abbot, whose fascination with the modernization of New York in the late 1930’s led to the publication of her book Changing New York.Continue Reading...
While the work remains anonymous on the Tumblr site (seen in the above grid), in the accompanying catalog, and in the gallery, one may differentiate the photographers through subtle stylistic shifts. Gunhouse often points his camera toward cultural artifacts that speak specifically to area businesses that are threatened by the influx of box stores with corporate logos and homogenous mannequins. In addition, his unique approach to portraiture is evidenced not only by the proximity between him and his subject, which speaks to a direct and open interaction, but by the captions which often include quotations from the dialogue between the two. Schenning’s photographs oscillate between the minutia and the monumental depicting dynamic compositions of roads converging with scaffolding, faux reflections of the setting sun or details of textures and discarded objects. For Würm, a sense of tension pervades his images that seem to capture life in both its highest and lowest moments, where forces of authority are challenged and individual histories are embedded in images that reinforce the rapidity of this work in progress.
For this incarnation of Work In Progress On In Progress Work, the photographs have been printed on an adhesive paper that is affixed to the walls in a site-specific installation. In addition, a tablet located in the gallery allows visitors to scroll through the expansive archive at dtwnbklyn.tumblr.com and view the project in its original iteration. To mimic the Tumblr site and emphasize the nature of this work in progress, new photographs will be added to the gallery walls throughout the duration of the exhibition. An accompanying catalog printed by Waal-Boght press is for sale in the gallery.
Bringing this exhibition to gallery walls allows for something the city does not—pause. Its impermanence speaks by its very nature to the essence of the project, and allows for introspection, education, and awareness of the impact that urban renewal has on residents both new and old. These still images allow us time to examine the complexity of each frame; each moment that are such tiny fractions of the vastness that make Brooklyn the thriving place that it is.