Monday, December 20, 2010


Contemporary New York photographer Ian Ference (9th image) signs his work "Richard Nickel, Jr." in homage to renowned Chicago photographer Richard Nickel (10th image). Both artists are known for their images of urban decay. Nickel lamented, "Great architecture has only two natural enemies: water and stupid men." Ference explains, "As for why I use 'Richard Nickel, Jr.' as a nom de plume - Richard Nickel is a hero to me, and to many in the preservation community. It is due to his unceasing efforts that we have a record of many of the Louis Sullivan buildings which were myopically demolished in the mid-late 20th century. Nickel was a pioneer in the use of photography as a means of preservation for buildings which were destined for the wrecking ball. I chose the moniker as I did as an homage to Nickel and to his tireless efforts. While I would never claim that my work rivals Nickel's in terms of either importance or quality, I would hope that the records I am creating of doomed structures will, serve the same purpose as Nickel's work has. I aim to create a record of historically and culturally significant structures which are, for the most part, fated for destruction - by wrecking ball or by neglect - in order that the buildings may in some small way live on."

Richard Nickel's photographs document iconic buildings designed by Sullivan (1856-1924), including the Schiller/Garrick Theater, which was demolished despite being listed as a Chicago landmark (2nd, 6th, and 8th images), and the Old Chicago Stock Exchange (4th image), in which he was killed in 1972 when a stairwell collapsed on him. Richard Nickel, Jr.'s photographs include a sandstone hallway and cast-iron stairs in the Buffalo State Hospital (1st and 3rd images), the chapel of the Hotel Divine Lorraine in Philadelphia before it was gutted in 2006 (5th image), and the Statue of Liberty as seen from measles ward in Quarantine Hospital, Ellis Island (7th image). Richard Nickel's photographic archive has just been donated to the Art Institute of Chicago. Richard Nickel, Jr.'s photographs are for sale.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You may add your comments here.