Michael Eastman: Buenos Aires

New York

16 November 2017 - 20 January 2018

Teatro Salon #1, Buenos Aires, 2017

Teatro Salon #1, Buenos Aires, 2017

Colegio Passage, Buenos Aires, 2017

Colegio Passage, Buenos Aires, 2017

Golden Theater #2, Buenos Aires, 2017

Golden Theater #2, Buenos Aires, 2017

White Palace, Buenos Aires, 2017

White Palace, Buenos Aires, 2017

Mirror Image, Buenos Aires, 2017

Mirror Image, Buenos Aires, 2017

Colegio Stairway, Buenos Aires, 2017

Colegio Stairway, Buenos Aires, 2017

Secret Doorway, Buenos Aires, 2017

Secret Doorway, Buenos Aires, 2017

Presidental, Buenos Aires, 2017

 

Presidental, Buenos Aires, 2017

Parisian Salon #2, Buenos Aires, 2017

Parisian Salon #2, Buenos Aires, 2017

Downstairs Landing, Buenos Aires, 2017

Downstairs Landing, Buenos Aires, 2017

Rancho Pable Silveyra, Buenos Aires, 2017

Rancho Pable Silveyra, Buenos Aires, 2017

French Palace, Buenos Aires, 2017

Press Release

Edwynn Houk Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of large-scale photographs by Michael Eastman (American, b. 1947). The show opens on Thursday, 16 November 2017 and runs through Saturday, 20 January 2018. The artist will be present at the opening reception on 16 November from 6-8pm.

The exhibition features unexpected photographs of iconic interiors in Buenos Aires. It is natural that Michael Eastman, whose works tell stories through the details of interiors located throughout the world, found rich material and inspiration in this city. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Buenos Aires staged ambitious and extravagant architectural projects to brandish its wealth, its stunning architecture helping the city earn its nickname “the Paris of South America.” Latin America’s tallest building and a series of neoclassical palaces were amongst the feats the city boasted. While Buenos Aires proudly retains this legacy today, still teeming with examples of architectural achievement from its belle époque, many of its buildings show signs of the country’s recent political and economic hardships. Eastman’s series illuminates how these interiors, captured a century after their heyday, have not dimmed with time but rather become more intriguing in their age. 

 

At the heart of each photograph is an essential element of surprise: an electric blue light illuminating the doorway of a classic palace, the psychedelic twist of a spiral staircase, the blazing reflection of light in an entirely golden theater. These details dazzle, but equally important is what is absent from these photographs. Each interior is largely devoid of contemporary design, technology, and, somewhat hauntingly, inhabitants. A college stairwell transports no students, an opera stage hosts no performers or audience members—these scenes raise the question, without people, what are the functions of these rooms? Eastman’s photographs present complex tableaux of Buenos Aires’ vibrant history, juxtaposing the splendor of a bygone golden age with present-day realities.

Michael Eastman was born in St. Louis, Missouri and studied at the University of Wisconsin. He is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant, the National Addy Award, and a Paris Photo BMW Finalist award. His work is in numerous private and public collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago of Chicago, IL; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; the International Center of Photography, NY; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; and the Saint Louis Art Museum, MO. His publications include Havana (Prestel, 2011), Vanishing America (Rizzoli, 2008), and Horses (Knopf, 2003). Eastman currently lives and works in St. Louis.