Edition 1/3 + 1 AP
Dimensions: Each sheet: 14 x 11 in. (35.6 x 27.9 cm)
Gift of Andrea Inselmann
Object Number: 2012.051 a-j
While Michael Ashkin’s work in sculpture, video, installation, and text often implicitly engages the dynamics involved in the appropriation of territory, his photographic series (Long Branch) addresses these issues more directly. At first glance, the ten prints in the series seem to be documentary photographs of the New Jersey beach neighborhood that has been embroiled in a fight over eminent-domain abuses for over a decade. Though the images seem to focus on marginal and unspecified details, upon closer inspection a variety of interventions enacted on the negatives and the prints become apparent. By either cutting negatives or pairing views that were taken at slightly different angles, in which the tonal qualities of the sky, for instance, no longer quite match, Ashkin has produced a series of images that create instability for the viewer—ambiguity already hinted at in his parenthetical title. Layers of information are further expressed in a printed piece that pairs the quasi-documentary photographs with quotes from the Internet, real estate brochures, and newspaper articles commenting on this politically charged situation, interspersed with writings by the artist adding his own voice to the multitude of positions.
Including this series in the context of The City is meant to provoke not only thoughts about the politics of territory but also the nature of photography, and how both concepts today are more unstable than ever. ("The City: Works from the Collection," cocurated by Andrea Inselmann and Sonja Gandert and presented at the Johnson Museum September 5 - December 20, 2015)
NOTE: This electronic record is compiled from historic documentation which may not reflect the Johnson Museum's complete or current knowledge of the object. Review and refinement of such records is ongoing.