Fine Art Photography Daily

Marc Yankus: The Secret Lives of Buildings


©Marc Yankus, Flatiron Building

ClampArt opens it’s shiny new doors in its brand new location (247 West 29th Street, Ground Floor, New York City) to the exhibition, Marc Yankus: The Secret Lives of Buildings which runs through November 26, 2016. The Secret Lives of Buildings, is Marc Yankus’ fifth solo exhibition of surrealistic portraits of New York buildings, will be the Inaugural show at ClampArt’s newly renovated, expansive, storefront space on 29th Street. It’s the perfect exhibition to launch a new space, as Marc manages to celebrate New York architecture with a beautiful stillness, free of traffic, people, noise, and chaos. It’s as if he power washes the street, so the buildings are in their much deserved spotlight. This series continues his interest in structure and form.

As ClampArt writes, Marc Yankus’s dreamlike portraits of New York City buildings straddle a fine line between documentary and fiction. In “The Secret Lives of Buildings” he captures the city’s architecture in an uncanny moment of stillness, free from the frenzy of people and cars. The sense of quietude lends elegance to the structures, both majestic and humble. Yankus inspires viewers to see historical buildings with a fresh perspective, offering an idealized and even utopian version of the past, while other buildings are viewed through a lens of potential. In separate scenes, the decay of crumbling concrete, chipped- away paint, and remnants of deconstruction paradoxically inspire a sense of agreeable nostalgia.

Marc Yankus’ fine art and publishing experience span a period of more than thirty years. His work has been included in exhibitions at The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York; Exit Art, New York City; The Library of Congress, Washington, DC; and ClampArt, New York City. Yankus’ artwork has graced the covers of books by Salman Rushdie, Philip Roth, and Alan Hollinghurst, among many others. His images have also been used for theatrical posters for such acclaimed Broadway shows as “Jane Eyre”; August Wilson’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”; and John Patrick Shanley’s Pulitzer Prize winning play, “Doubt.” Additionally, Yankus’ photographs have appeared both on the covers and inside the pages of numerous publications ranging from The Atlantic Monthly to Photo District News.


©Marc Yankus, Bank on Eighth

The Secret Lives of Buildings

When I was a boy growing up in New York City, my stepfather would regularly tell me to “go out and play in traffic.” Needless to say, this didn’t make me feel welcome at home. I would wander the Manhattan streets instead and often walked to the Metropolitan Museum to lose myself in art.

On my way to the museum one day, I was horrified to see wrecking crews knocking down one of my favorite buildings, a beaux-arts apartment building on 79th Street. In the months that followed, a monstrosity of a tower rose in its place. And while that eyesore is still standing today, the lost building – gone now for 40 years – endures in my memory, a fading, elegiacal postcard of a lost time and place.


©Marc Yankus, Barber Shop

In my current artwork, I seek to document New York’s iconic, lost and forgotten architecture, from humble small buildings to soaring skyscrapers through a form of surreal architectural photography. Through a unique form of digital collage, I attempt to mute some of the visual noise that can distract viewers from their essential beauty, and in the process help them see their city anew.

In this series, select historical buildings are portrayed in altered cityscapes and invented spaces that evoke the experience of memory, imagination and dream states playing out in a magical place. Strangely familiar, the buildings are elevated in a fictional composition that appears to tell a story or reflect a past history, but their power resides more in the realm of sensation than explicit narrative.


©Marc Yankus, Charles Street West of Hudson


©Marc Yankus, Dorilton Apartments


©Marc Yankus, H. H. Vail House


©Marc Yankus, Haughwout Building


©Marc Yankus, New City


©Marc Yankus, Nineteenth Street


©Marc Yankus, The Ansonia


©Marc Yankus, The Empire


©Marc Yankus, Three Buildings on West Tenth Street


©Marc Yankus, Tinsmith


©Marc Yankus, West Seventy Second

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