If you are going to be in or around the New York City area over the next month as I am, I recommend taking a trip down to Chelsea to view the exhibition of artist Mike Brodie's powerful work documenting a portion of America's disparate youth as they travel cross country via freight train. The exhibition is titled A Period of Juvenile Prosperity and is currently being shown at the Yossi Milo Gallery. The wonderful color photography on display is the result of Brodie's decade-long quest to examine this unique cross-section of the American culture by following in their soot-covered foot steps.
Please find the press release and pertinent information about the exhibit below:
Yossi Milo Gallery is pleased to present A Period of Juvenile Prosperity, an exhibition of color photographs by Mike Brodie, aka The Polaroid Kidd. The exhibition opens on Thursday, March 7 and will be on view through Saturday, April 6. An artist’s reception and book signing of his new monograph, A Period of Juvenile Prosperity, published by Twin Palms, will be held on Thursday, March 7 from 6:00 - 8:00 pm. This will be the artist’s first exhibition with the gallery and is concurrent with an exhibition of Brodie’s work at M+B Gallery in Los Angeles from March 16 – May 11, 2013.
A Period of Juvenile Prosperity depicts the gritty youth subculture of freight train hoppers and squatters. From 2004 - 2009, Brodie created a prolific body of work which introduces viewers to an alternative lifestyle based on the constant movement of train travel across America. The gallery will present 30 photographs from Brodie’s series.
Brodie began traveling the railways in 2002 at the age of 17. Unannounced, he left his house with only a few personal belongings. Brodie returned home days later, infatuated with train-hopping culture. “Two weeks later I was gone...this was it, I was riding my very first freight train. And soon, what would begin as mere natural curiosity and self-discovery would evolve into a casting call of sorts.”
Brodie began to photograph his travels in 2004 when he acquired an old Polaroid camera. “A friend gave me a Polaroid camera I found on the back seat of her car. I took a photo of the handlebars of my BMX bike and it looked incredible, so I kept taking pictures, it was that simple.” From 2004-2006, Brodie shot exclusively on Polaroid film, earning him the moniker the Polaroid Kidd; a name he would tag on box cars and walls. From 2006 - 2009, Brodie switched to 35mm film. During this five-year span, Brodie rode over 50,000 miles through 46 states documenting the people and places he encountered along the way. “I know almost everyone I shoot,” Brodie states, “three of the women in the book are ex-girlfriends and a couple of the guys...are best friends.” Brodie captures his companions through intimate portraits set against ever-changing landscapes. His photographs capture the raw reality of his travels: the dirt, the blood, the struggles and, ultimately, a community of travelers who share the challenges and triumphs of life on the road.
In Brodie’s images, the world appears warmly colored, slightly faded, and filled with adventure. His travel photographs encapsulate a period of youthful exuberance and unbridled freedom. Although Brodie was never trained, his photographs exemplify a keen eye for composition and follow in the footsteps of artists Robert Frank, William Eggleston and Nan Goldin. His images visualize modern versions of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn or Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, while also reflecting symbols of a passing era in American culture that include trains, punk aesthetics and Polaroid cameras.
Mike Brodie won the Baum Award for Emerging American Photographers in 2008. Brodie has been included in exhibitions at the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA and the Sonoma State University Art Gallery, Rohnert Park, CA. The artist’s work is included in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. Brodie was born in Arizona in 1985 and currently lives and works in Oakland, CA.
• What: A Period of Juvenile Prosperity
• When: March 7–April 6, 2013
• Where: 245 Tenth Avenue (between 24th & 25th St.) New York, NY 10001
• Admission: Free
• Museum hours: Tuesday–Saturday 10am–6pm
• Info: Call 212-414-0370 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
To see more of the images that will be on display, go to the Mike Brodie artist profile on the Yossi Milo Gallery site. To learn more about Mike Brodie's incredible adventure, read the Dailymail UK article.
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