SILVERMAN and Hamilton Square Condominium Association present
Edward Fausty | A Fragile Utopia: The Days of 111 First Street
232 Pavonia Avenue, Jersey City, NJ 07302
Opening Reception: Wednesday, January 7, 2015, 6—8 pm.
Exhibition on view in the lobby January 5, 2015 to April 30, 2015.
“What has always touched me in music and art and life is loss or its possibility/inevitability.”
SILVERMAN AND HAMILTON SQUARE CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION present “Edward Fausty: A Fragile Utopia: The Days of 111 First Street,” curated by Brendan Carroll. This exhibition presents more than 20 large-scale photographs of a former tobacco warehouse that once housed a vibrant artist community in downtown Jersey City.
Photographer Edward Fausty lived and worked in 111 First Street, a five-story red brick warehouse building that was home to more than 150 artists and small businesses. The former cigarette factory sprawled over 328,000 square feet and occupied an entire city block near the waterfront. For 15 years, the building not only provided a refuge for artists, but it also, arguably, functioned as the city’s cultural epicenter. In 2005, New Gold Equities, led by Lloyd Goldman, evicted the artists, and in 2007 it demolished the building to develop the site for residential use. As of now, ground has yet to be broken on the site.
Between 2001 and 2005, Fausty photographed the building, its immediate environs, and the makeshift studios where the artist lived and worked. He photographed 111 First Street with the nuance of a poet and the precision of a surgeon, creating an encyclopedic visual catalog of the site while subtly addressing issues of gentrification, class, urban redevelopment, and displacement of the creative community.
The sensations of loss and dread that Fausty conjures by capturing once-vibrant objects alongside signs of decay are real and concrete. An overhead lamp in the shape of an elephant’s head illuminates a vacant hallway. A series of lithographs hang like laundry on a line in a cramped studio. A dog sleeps on a blue pillow, a few bones by its side. A toilet and a riser await the demolition crew in a vacant room. The ghosts of 111 First Street are felt everywhere.
The atmospheric quality of light, the carefully balanced compositions, and the overall tenor of the subjects depicted suggest the paintings of Johannes Vermeer. The silence is palpable. In other ways, the series is a kind of meditation on death or dying, as it documents the systematic dismantling of this building and the dispersal of its inhabitants. There is a near tangible tension in the series between “aesthetic beauty” and “ruin.” Devoid of people and suffused with premonitory gloom, the photographs have an emotional gravitas.
These photographs are an irreplaceable record of an artist community that sought refuge in a once derelict warehouse district in Jersey City.
Fausty used a Bronica Medium Format SLR Camera. According to Fausty, he estimates that he shot anywhere from 800 to 1,000 negatives. From this group, he selected roughly 50 prints that would comprise the series. The images are generated from high resolution digital scans and printed with archival quality inks onto Arches rag paper. Some prints are 22 inches and some are 36 inches square on 42 x 48 inch paper.
“This is a collection of my favorite images,” says Fausty. “It is not edited tightly in the way a book might be.” By necessity, the selection of work is dictated by the exhibition venue. That said, the series is usually presented in a loose chronological order. In Fausty’s words: “Pre- and post-apocalypse.”
Edward Fausty’s work is included in many national collections, including Montclair Art Museum, The United States Library of Congress, Yale University, and Goldman Sachs, to name a few. The Henry Street Settlement, Louis K. Meisel Gallery, Hunterdon Art Museum, Hoboken Historical Museum have organized solo exhibitions of his work. His photographs have been included in numerous group exhibitions. He has exhibited his work nationally and internationally, including group exhibitions with Brooklyn Museum of Art, Dallas Museum of Art, and The U.S. Library of Congress.
The New York Times, Artforum Magazine, Village Voice, and The Star Ledger have reviewed his work, to name a few. Fausty has been the recipient of numerous awards, including Princeton University Atelier Program, National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Survey Grant, and Creative Artists Program Services (CAPS) grant, among others. He received his M.F.A. in photography from Yale School of Art in 1986. He received his B.F.A. from Cooper Union School of Art in 1979. He lives and works in New Jersey.
The exhibition will be on view at Hamilton Square Condominium Association through April 30, 2015. For further information, please visit us at SILVERMAN or call number (201) 435-8000.
“Edward Fausty: A Fragile Utopia: The Days of 111 First Street” is the twenty-third exhibition that Brendan Carroll will organize for SILVERMAN. For additional information on the artist, go here: edwardfausty.com.
SILVERMAN has presented the works of Ali Harrington, Sara Wolfe, Anne Percoco, Shauna Finn, Melanie Vote, Paul Lempa, Fanny Allié, Michael Meadors, John A. Patterson, Charlotte Becket, Roger Sayre, Karina Aguilera Skvirsky, Tom McGlynn, Margaret Murphy, Valeri Larko, Tenesh Webber, Glenn Garver, Jennifer Krause Chapeau, Michelle Doll, Tim Heins, Megan Maloy, Laurie Riccadonna, Thomas John Carlson, Tim Daly, Ann Flaherty, Scott Taylor, Jason Seder, Sara Wolfe, Beth Gilfilen, Andrzej Lech, Hiroshi Kumagai, Victoria Calabro, Asha Ganpat, Darren Jones, Ryan Roa,Laura Napier, Risa Puno, Nyugen E. Smith, Amanda Thackray, and Kai Vierstra.