American Ruins

Vergara, Camilo J.

Published by The Monacelli Press, 1999
ISBN 10: 1580930565 / ISBN 13: 9781580930567
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Hardcover. 4to. Monacelli Press. 1999. 224 pgs. FFEP has the lower right corner clipped. DJ in VG shape with light shelf-wear present to the DJ. No ownership marks present. Text is clean and free of marks, binding tight and solid, boards clean with no wear present. Photos sent upon request. Bx-262; 4to 11" - 13" tall; 224 pages. Bookseller Inventory #

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Synopsis: The deterioration of the American inner city stands in stark contrast to the prosperity characteristic of the United States for much of the twentieth century. Skyscrapers that once defined the modern era stand derelict and abandoned. Massive industrial manufactories lie rusting, their cavernous interiors dark. Formerly vibrant theaters shed bricks and terra-cotta ornaments. These desolate fragments of America's cityscapes are the legacy of decades of proud investment in the urban realm followed by decades of devastating neglect.

Photographer and sociologist Camilo José Vergara has spent years documenting the decline of the built environment in New York City; Newark and Camden, New Jersey; Philadelphia; Baltimore; Chicago; Gary, Indiana; Detroit; and Los Angeles. His photographic sequences—images of the same sites taken over the course of many years—show once-sturdy structures as ghostly ruins and then as empty lots or flimsy new buildings. Grand civic edifices—the Michigan Central Railroad Station in Detroit, the Essex County Jail in New Jersey, the Camden Free Public Library—have become empty, roofless shells, dusted with snow in the winter and filled with stray plant and animal life in the summer. Monumental commercial and industrial buildings such as RCA Victor's "Nipper" Building in Camden and the Packard Automobile Plant in Detroit bear broken windows and rubble-strewn interiors. At once a scathing critique of national indifference to the plight of the inner city and a meditation on the aesthetic impact of desolate and neglected buildings, American Ruins stands as a witness to a vanishing era of the American city.

About the Author: Camilo José Vergara is the author of Twin Towers Remembered and The New American Ghetto and coauthor of Silent Cities: The Evolution of the American Cemetery. He was awarded a 2002 MacArthur Fellowship. Since 1977 he has documented urban destruction throughout the United States as part of his New American Ghetto Archive; included in the archive are the South Bronx, Harlem, and North Central Brooklyn, New York; Newark and Camden, New Jersey; Chicago, Illinois; Gary, Indiana; Detroit, Michigan; and Los Angeles County (South Central, Downtown, East Los Angeles, Pacoima, Compton, Vernon, South Gate, and Huntington Park), California. Vergara has received numerous awards, including grants from the New York Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. His photographs have been acquired by the New York Public Library, the Getty Center in Los Angeles, the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City, the Chicago Historical Society, and Avery Library at Columbia University.

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Bibliographic Details

Title: American Ruins
Publisher: The Monacelli Press
Publication Date: 1999
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Very Good

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Vergara, Camilo J.
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Book Description Monacelli Press, 1999. Oversized Hardcover. Condition: Good. Photographer and sociologist Camilo Jose Vergara has spent years documenting the decline of the built environment in New York City; Newark & Camden, New Jersey; Philadelphia; Baltimore; Chicago; Gary, Indiana; Detroit; and Los Angeles. His photographic sequences - images of the same sites taken over the course of many years - show once-sturdy structures as ghostly ruins and then as empty lots or flimsy new buildings. Vergara turns his camera on modest ruins as well. Throughout, photographs show the flotsam and jetsam in disenfranchised urban areas, i.e., layers of peeling posters on the Brooks Bakery in Harlem, faded neon signs. Selected bibliography. 284 photographs, mostly in color. 224p. Seller Inventory # 605311

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