At the BU Art Museum: Reclaiming Ruins: The New York State Inebriate Asylum and Other “Abandonscapes” by A.D. Wheeler


Thursday, September 17 – Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Main Gallery exhibition, Reclaiming Ruins: The New York State Inebriate Asylum and Other “Abandonscapes” by A.D. Wheeler, is guest curated by Julia Walker, Assistant Professor of Art History. The exhibition will be on view through December 19, 2015.

A.D. Wheeler’s evocative photographs of abandoned sites in Pennsylvania and Upstate New York speak to the contemporary taste for ruin and decay, but his images go beyond these structures’ patinated surfaces to explore their historical content and architectural significance. He is especially interested in obsolete industrial buildings—not just factories and mines, but also the civic institutions that accompanied this pattern of life. Wheeler explores these sites thoroughly, sometimes over the course of several days, in order to identify and capture the particular environments that the passage of time has created within them. Making use of High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography, in which several shots taken at different exposures are combined into a single image, his photographs reveal the visual and historical layers that have accumulated at these sites and make a strong case for their reuse. By drawing attention to the beauty of these disused properties, Wheeler demonstrates their ongoing relevance and advocates for their preservation.

Several public lectures will be offered in conjunction with the exhibition. Photographer, A.D. Wheeler, will give a gallery talk on Thursday, October 1, 2015, 5:00 pm. Roger Luther from the Broome County Historical Society will give two talks: “Binghamton’s Castle: Its History and Recent Developments” on Thursday, October 22, 5:30 and “Abandoned Asylums of New York State” on Wednesday, November 18, 6:30. Luther curated the complementary exhibition, The Castle on the Hill, on view in the Museum’s lower galleries.

All events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit