On March 20, 2020, the New York governor put the state on “pause”, which limited public transportation, recreational activities, indoor gatherings, and mandated that non-essential businesses must close. The entire city held its breath while its citizens peered outside their apartments, hungry for information on what it was that we were facing. In a city of millions, you could walk several blocks and not see another person. While artist Logan Hicks recognized the somberness of the situation, he also understood that it was unique opportunity to document the city he calls home. Places he would not go normally were suddenly empty of tourists. Roads usually clogged with angry motorists sat empty without a car in sight. He knew it wouldn’t last long so he moved quickly. How could one show the spirit of New York without people? How can the history and significance of this city be communicated without using words? In some ways, the sudden changes made for easier shooting: Parking was not as issue. There were occasions when Hicks parked his car in the middle of otherwise busy roads, and was able to leave his car, set up his tripod, and spend upwards of fifteen minutes framing and executing a desired photograph. He recalls standing in the middle of Times Square being assaulted by the lights of the blinking and flashing billboards, but unassailed by the typical throngs of tourists. Still, the backdrop to this time was the fact that a virus was ravaging the world. Before much was known about SARS-CoV-2, everything and everyone was a potential threat. Further, the repercussions from the lockdown extended well beyond the human toll. Many places beloved by the artist (and many more) would close permanently. The vacant storefronts are only one of the visible scars that the city now has. The landscape is different. Streets are peppered with structures hastily thrown together outside restaurants to accommodate outdoor dining regulations. So, is New York dead? It’s not. Over the course of his documentary project, Hicks determined it never would be; that the city has a life of its own, even without people in it. The city itself is an organism that holds the energy, history, stories, and memories of generations. The series is not an obituary, but a reflection of the historical moment before turning the page. No matter what challenges lay ahead, it’s Still New York.
“Still New York” documents the historical moment of the initial lock downs in New York City in the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic still ravaging the world. This unique moment shows an otherwise bustling metropolis as quiet, somber, and unpopulated as its inhabitants waited with bated breath for “normal” to return, or at least, for the other shoe to drop. For months, New Yorkers waited in this limbo in scenes not seen before or since. These photographs are both historical record and aesthetic explorations of compositions previously unimaginable within the densely populated capital of New York state. “Still New York” will display ~20 photographic images selected from the much larger body of work produced by Hicks during this project.
Support for this 2022 FotoFocus Biennial exhibition was provided by FotoFocus.
Friday, September 30, 2022
5 – 7 p.m.
Tuesdays + Thursdays, 12 – 8 p.m.
Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
and by appointment
CCAC @ Short Vine Gallery (2728 Short Vine)