Deco Details: Photographs by Andrew Bordwin

June 27 - October 26, 2014

Click here to view a slideshow of images from the exhibit.

Art Deco is an international-style movement developed in the 1920s that grew in importance through the 1930s and ’40s. It is characterized by bold lines, geometric shapes, lavish ornamentation, and vibrant colors. To this day, Art Deco evokes the exuberance of the machine age with its faith in social and technological progress. The movement’s quintessential expression is its architecture, the most iconic examples being the Chrysler and Empire State buildings in New York City.

Andrew Bordwin has been photographing Art Deco buildings in New York and Europe for twenty years. While the silhouettes of the buildings are familiar to those passing by, the magnificence of the detail is generally lost to viewers at street level. Bordwin’s stunning silver gelatin prints transport us to the tops of buildings and inside closed lobbies, allowing us to experience the iconography and craftsmanship of these early-twentieth-century masterpieces.

Deftly balancing the clarity of great documentary photography with distinctive artistic expression, Bordwin shoots his subjects straightforwardly, capturing their rhythms and proportions without adding layers of sentimental or romantic longing for a bygone era. His images possess their own internal logic and materiality, and with their finely shaded gray tones, the prints appear to glow from within, much like the chrome buildings themselves glow when struck by sunlight. Viewing thus becomes a double pleasure, as we experience both the Deco buildings’ details and Bordwin’s photographs.

— Mara Williams, Chief Curator