Pin It

Portfolio: Newburgh 

Portrait of a City

click to enlarge portfolio_new_sneakers_kasterine.jpg

click to enlarge portfolio_family_12_group_kasterine.jpg

Dmitri Kasterine is a really good listener. And he’s got a good eye too: Kasterine won’t fail to notice the discrete changes, moment to moment, in the way you want yourself to look to others. He’ll pay attention to the way your eye darts left when you’re uncomfortable; right when you’re taken with something he said about you, and then as you settle into some calm he’ll shoot your portrait.
click to enlarge portfolio_hello_kasterine.jpg

click to enlarge portfolio_hands_pants_kasterine.jpg

All that is plenty evident in the 43 large, vinyl portraits of Newburgh on display until November on the wall of the historic Ritz Theater off Liberty Street in downtown Newburgh. The work, exhibited in collaboration between the Ann Street Gallery in Newburgh and the community and arts advocacy organization Safe Harbors, is titled “Newburgh: Portrait of a City.” A companion volume of the same title is being published this month by The Quantuck Lane Press, the result of 16 years of documentation by Kasterine.
click to enlarge portfolio_man_scars_shoulder_kasterine.jpg

click to enlarge portfolio_girl_comb_kasterine.jpg

Newburgh, once deemed “America’s Most Beautiful City,” is now in the unraveled throes of the Post-Great Recession, its public services reduced from an already barebones level to something skeletal. A few years ago, it was one of the most dangerous cities in America, dubiously distinguished by having one of the highest per capita murder rates in the country. The outdoor work on display, the scheme and product of Kasterine’s work from 1995 to 2011 both speaks to these concerns and shirks them.
click to enlarge portfolio_teenager_child_kasterine.jpg

click to enlarge portfolio_summer_broadway_kasterine.jpg

Speak, say, to Rodney Hardison, a Cooper Union trained artist who now calls Newburgh home and works at the Wherehouse, a bar/restaurant across the street and in full view of Kasterine’s work. Hardison will tell you the work represents a people disenfranchised from representation itself; the work makes visible that which has been invisible for decades. The pictured residents of Newburgh have had no opportunity to represent themselves as a people who live daily outside the mainstream representation of poverty and violence. Today, Newburgh is slowly turning itself into what many hope will be a sustainable, locally managed and developed community. Hardison will tell you that Kasterine’s work offers that representation: a rebounding city peopled by hopeful folk united in their diverse stories. And Hardison will tell you the neighborhood now owns that work.
click to enlarge portfolio_fashion_statement_kasterine.jpg

click to enlarge portfolio_bodybuilder_girl_kasterine.jpg
br /> Still, the photographs are not a study guide to anything. They are narrowly focused particulars, pictures of proud, unbowed men and women, some couples, most alone, in the city. Some of the subjects are assertively beautiful: their dark skin bounces right off white highlights and grey architecture; Kasterine’s own view on beauty.
click to enlarge portfolio_shoe_print_youth_kasterine.jpg

click to enlarge portfolio_boy_headset_kasterine.jpg

Speaking of...

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

Hudson Valley Events

submit event
Divergent Expressions Opening Reception @ Good Purpose Gallery

Divergent Expressions Opening Reception

Thu., Feb. 23, 4:30-6:30 p.m. — Join us for our first opening of 2017, Divergent Expressions, featuring paintings...
Gallery Talk on The Art of Devastation to be given by FLLAC curator Patricia Phagan @ Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College

Gallery Talk on The Art of Devastation to be given by FLLAC curator Patricia Phagan

Thu., Feb. 23, 5-6 p.m. — Curator Patricia Phagan is giving a gallery talk exploring the artistry and...

View all of today's events

Latest in Visual Art

  • On The Cover: Tatana Kellner
  • On The Cover: Tatana Kellner

    Monoprints by Tatana Kellner will be exhibited as part of the show "The World After January 20, 2017: Works by Contemporary Artists and Poets" at Vassar's Palmer Gallery.
    • Feb 1, 2017
  • Art of Business: Catskill Art & Office Supply
  • Art of Business: Catskill Art & Office Supply

    Owner, Paul Solis-Cohen, speaks to over three decades of success for Catskill Art & Office Supply.
    • Feb 1, 2017
  • Parting Shot: Lisa Durfee
  • Parting Shot: Lisa Durfee

    Lisa Durfee’s documentation of unnoticed parts of shabby chic Hudson currently being shown at the Hudson Opera House.
    • Feb 1, 2017
  • More »

More by Faheem Haider

Hudson Valley Tweets