Reviews of Ruins


WALL STREET JOURNAL, William Meyers, Veterans, Youngsters and 'Ruins', 4.25.09

    Ruins -- the Colosseum, Angkor Wat and the like -- are powerful icons of fallen glory. The "ruins" Beth Dow photographs were built that way. They are commercial structures that imitate famous buildings. My Big Fat Greek Pizza Joint, for instance, is in a building that appears to be made of weathered marble with columns, capitals and other elements of classical architecture. But pizza joint it is, and the Parthenon it ain't.

    The wackiest ruin is "The White House," a tourist attraction that looks like 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue after having been picked up by a tornado and dropped on the ground upside down. There is the "Leaning Tower" with an American flag on top. A section of the "Colosseum" appears behind a cyclone fence in a water park. And an enormous, troubled-looking "Trojan Horse" is encircled by a go-kart track. These buildings mock the structures they are designed to resemble, but in a way they also honor the reverence we feel in the presence of the originals. Ms. Dow's platinum-palladium prints have the look of 19th century photographs of actual antiquities, a final jest.

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VILLAGE VOICE, Martha Schwendener, 4.28.09

“. . . The frontiers of photography were at Jen Bekman, with Beth Dow's platinum-palladium-print photographs of Ruins—actual sites in the Wisconsin Dells based on ancient ruins, like a faux Greek temple housing "My Big, Fat Greek Pizza Joint." Dow exemplifies the new ethos in photography, both its 19th-century-revivalist aesthetics and the tactic popular among young photographers of using digital technology for processing, but not for compositional trickery.” 

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BLACK & WHITE MAGAZINE, George Slade, 4.09

“ . . . Her newest series, the wry and iconic Ruins, draws upon 19th century pictorial traditions . . . in an investigation of the built environment with an eye for the collisions of ancient and modern structures, a hybrid history that, combined with her printing style, throws all expectations of description and specificity to the winds.”