Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sound the Alarm

Wave Hill was moderately crowded today with visitors wanting to get away from the urban jungle for a short commune with nature. Here are a couple of photos of plants that I particularly enjoyed (the cacti greenhouse is surprisingly extensive):

It was good timing that I was able to see the current exhibition up in the Wave Hill Glyndor Gallery, Sound the Alarm: Landscapes in Distress (up through June 1). Featuring the work of eight artists, the exhibition "calls attention to the indelible impact of human activity on the environment from the Arctic to the Equator," according to the show's curators. Most of the work is interesting, although I only knew Edward Burtynsky's work by name beforehand. Travis Roozee tells a partial story of Centralia, Pennsylvania, a town I've wanted to visit for years now. (He also did a series called Rooftop Brooklyn that I remember, because it's about birds...Bushwick pigeons, to be specific.) Gilles Minasson's photo of teens ice hopping was simultaneously playful and sinister. Sergio Vega's images were interesting, factually, but there wasn't enough of it to be cohesive enough, and the inkjet print quality of his image "Jose Dias Soares Farm at Rochedo (field)" (2007) was distracting.

The find of the exhibition was the discovery of Sasha Bezzubov's Things Fall Apart series. Bezzubov documents the ruins of natural disasters. (Although this article states, too simplistically and mistakenly, that the natural disasters he documents are actually the result of man.) Bezzubov brings his vision to disaster photography, traveling to India (after the 2001 earthquake), Indonesia (after the 2005 tsunami), and California (after a 2003 wildfire). (He's also traveled to Missouri and Floria after hurricanes and to Utah after a wildfire, as seen on his website.)

at the Sound the Alarm exhibition: Sasha Bezzubov's "Wildfire #4, California" (2003) from the series Things Fall Apart.

not at the exhibition: Bezzubov's "Earthquake #1, India" (2001), also from the series Things Fall Apart.

The quality of Bezzubov's images are stunning, similar in style, but not subject matter, to Burtynsky's work. The brochure accompanying the exhibit states that there is an upcoming monograph for the series, and I anticipate it being appropriately breathtaking. (NOTE: If you spend time on Bezzubov's website, click on images twice to view the largest image size available, as the work definitely benefits from being viewed as large as possible.) It is also of note that although Bezzubov is working on a newer series, Things Fall Apart is still an active series of work. I wonder if he is currently in China or planning a trip in the immediate future to document the recent earthquake's after effects.

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