Becca Fitzpatrick: Penn Station: a distant view
October 22, 2011 through January, 2012
Preservation Resource Center
923 Tchoupitoulas St.
New Orleans, La. 70130
Hours: Mon-Fri 9-5
Penn Station: a distant view
Photographs by Connecticut artist Becca Fitzpatrick alongside a historical retrospective.
“Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves. Even when we had Penn Station, we couldn’t afford to keep it clean. We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tinhorn culture. And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed.”
– “Farewell to Penn Station,” New York Times editorial, October 30, 1963
The tear down of the Beaux Arts-style Pennsylvania Station in 1963 was pivotal in the formation of the modern historic preservation movement. As someone who was not alive when the colossal landmark existed, Fitzpatrick’s only perspective on the disastrous demise of this architectural monolith is through period photographs exhibited behind Plexiglas at the modern Penn Station. In order to re-imagine the destruction of the original station, Fitzpatrick photographed two of the period images, then photographed her own photographs, printed, photocopied and photographed the copies. Each generation lost more information until the 84 granite columns on the station’s exterior and the 15-story waiting room became fragmentary and distant survivors of the station’s architectural grandeur. Her dual large-scale photographs mirror the station’s monumental proportions as well as its faded memory. The exhibit will hang from October 22 through January.