Phil Bueler, No Man is an Island, Opening Reception

Front Room Gallery

May. 25, 2024, 04:00 pm

205 Warren Street
PHONE 718-782-2556

Join the gallery and artist from 4-6pm May 25th for the opening reception of a solo show of photographs by Phil Buehler. Front Room Gallery is proud to present “No Man Is an Island: Poetry in the Ruins of the New York Archipelago,” fifty years of work by photographer Phillip Buehler documenting many of the islands surrounding Manhattan. This is Buehler’s third solo show at Front Room Gallery.

Phillip Buehler is a New York based photographer who documents the deterioration and remnants of neglected architecture constructed in the recent past. In the series “No Man is an Island…” Buehler has photographed the historic, and also often forgotten islands, around New York City. Some of them, like Ellis Island, loom large in their impact on history, culture and existence in the national identity. Others, like “Rat Island,” a privately-owned 2.5 acre islet north of The Bronx, with an unusual statue of William Tell (and nothing much more), are known about by virtually no one. But many, like North Brother Island, held storied institutions like Riverside Hospital—a place to quarantine people with smallpox, and later tuberculosis, and even later drug addiction. Eventually the forces that be let it go to seed, and it has been abandoned for around sixty years now.

Buehler’s exhibition can trace its birth to his trips in a rowboat to then-abandoned Ellis Island in 1974, when he was seventeen, to make a 16mm documentary film. In Buehler’s “Ferry Ellis Island, 1974” the photograph captures the haunting silhouette of the skeleton of the Ferry, its structure looming like a monument of time and history. The ferry, once a bustling vessel ferrying hopeful immigrants to the shores of America, now sits beached and weathered, its skeletal frame a stark contrast against the backdrop of the docks. The photograph captures a moment frozen in time, where the past and present intersect, inviting viewers to reflect on the passage of time and the stories that linger in the silent echoes of abandoned places.

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