New York Photo Review
from the NYPR Archives

Making Caribbean Dance by Susanna Sloat
The Genetic Wars by Barbara Confino
Soho Photo Gallery
Central Booking Magazine

Empty Stages
Meghan McInnis
Spiritus: Our Collected Breath
Ed Barnas
Meghan McInnis, 538 Johnson

According to the press release, “Our collected breath” refers to the “energy we carry with us. 2010-2011 A.I.R. Fellowship Artist Meghan McInnis has chosen to record that energy at underground “hardcore” performances, photographing from the side or above, outside the chaos of the mosh pit. In keeping with the punk DIY aesthetic, the prints on display are black and white and grainy.

On entering the Fellowship Gallery at A.I.R., one notices on the right wall a set of sixteen heads of audience members – closely cropped, isolated faces, mouths open wide or teeth clenched, framed by darkness - all in a row of 8x10 prints in black frames. On the next wall are four framed 16x20 prints of empty stages just after the bands have left with all their gear. Another empty stage at a lodge hall, printed to 59 x 80, covers the next wall and overlooks an installation of a typical DIY stage – two pieces of 4x8 plywood raised slightly on 2x4’s with a carpet for the drum kit.

Hardcore venues tend to be transitory– basements and lodge halls (in the photos of lodge halls one can see posters for Valentine’s dances and framed photos of past officers in Lodge regalia). On the last side of the space are three 16 x 24 prints, simply tacked to the wall, of mosh pits, blurry and gray with the motion of the audience, with the band, when visible, at the edge.

 by unidentified photographer.
Meghan McInnis, America

Unlike most music photography, which concentrates on the performers on stage, this exhibit concentrates on the audience and the space. However, given the fluid space between band and audience in hardcore, I would have liked a somewhat closer look at that intersection than the one shown here.

To one outside the hardcore community, the Heads series certainly portrays the manic intensity of the individual audience members, and the overhead photos of the mosh pits (numbered and titled “Something Like Energy”) do capture the anarchic energy of the punk performance. However, I don’t feel that the photos of empty stages post-show capture any “residual energy” from the intense physical and emotional performance. That energy is absorbed by the participants and does not reside in these transitory spaces.

While the photos on display are available in limited editions (four to six) and priced accordingly, in keeping with the punk DIY ethos, a set of five 11x11 prints is also available from the Heads series, priced at $25 in an edition of one hundred.

Meghan McInnis
Spiritus: Our Collected Breath


A.I.R. Gallery
111 Front St. 2nd Fl
Dumbo Brooklyn         Map

212 255 6651
airgallery.org

Wednesday, February 2 to
Sunday, February 27, 2011
Hours: Wed-Sun, 11 to 6
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The Genetic Wars by Barbara Confino
Making Caribbean Dance by Susanna Sloat
Central Booking Magazine
Soho Photo Gallery