Joe’s Junk Yard and Other American Dreams at Drew University
curated by Rebecca Soderholm
Lisa Kereszi grew up amidst the iron scraps and car parts of the family business, a junkyard started by her Grandfather, Joe, in 1949, in Trainer Pennsylvania. Over the next fifty-four years the junkyard prospered and declined, like the American automobile industry on which it depended. Kereszi began photographing at the junkyard in 1992 as an undergraduate student at Bard, and continued to make work there until the junkyard closed in 2003. Along with piles of tires and the rusty carcasses of old cars, the business also contained the family’s pain, pride and hard-as-nails sense of humor. A World War II vet and former competitive boxer, Joe practiced punches on customers who attempted to haggle over a price. An obsessive documentarian, he also made scrapbooks of family pictures, newspaper clippings and memorabilia, creating odd juxtapositions of the American dream in theory and practice. When one of Joe’s son was killed in what was officially called a “justified police homicide,” the sad facts of history are noted in ballpoint pen on the pictures and pages of his scrapbooks.
In “Joe’s Junk Yard and Other American Dreams,” Kereszi presents her own photographs alongside business and personal documents that tell the story of one family’s struggle to hold on to the past as the world changed around them. In addition, five larger-scale photographs from two of Kereszi’s other bodies, “Fun n’ Games” and “Fantasy,” reveal an aesthetic that has grown out of her experiences. These works turn trash into treasure, as Kereszi reveals the seams in places we construct for pleasure. As Larry Fink writes in the forward to Joe’s Junk Yard, “Lisa Kereszi is like a mushroom born from the spores of steel, soft and tough, ready to deal. Her eye is but a dome for an inner vision ordered by a poetics of the dire.”
Lisa Kereszi grew up in Suburban Philadelphia. She received her BA in 1995 from Bard College. She is currently the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Art at the Yale School of Art, where she received her MFA in 2000. Her work is in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and others. Kereszi is represented by Yancey Richardson Gallery in New York. Her most recent solo exhibition, “The Party’s Over,” in 2012, was a thematic follow-up to her 2009 book Fun and Games, which explores the ways in which we devise escapist environments and spectacles to remove ourselves from the realities of everyday life. In 2003, she was commissioned to photograph Governors Island by the Public Art Fund, which culminated in a 2004 exhibition catalog. Governors Island explored what was left behind on a former army and coast guard base a stone’s throw from Manhattan. In addition, Kereszi has two other monographs in print: Fantasies, 2008, about the burlesque revivalist movement and Joe’s Junk Yard, released in 2012.
The Korn Gallery is located in the Dorothy Young Center for the Arts at Drew University and is open Tuesday through Friday 12:30-4pm, selected weekends and by appointment.
For more information please call: (973) 408 – 3758
Korn Gallery, Drew University, 36 Madison Avenue, Madison, NJ 07940
September 3 – October 11, 2013
More information, including hours and location, here.
Posted on 1 September 2013