Publication Date: October 20, 2020
For several years, Mark Hage has been observing the shuttering of small and iconic retail spaces in New York City. “At first, and perhaps out of discomfort, I walked by thinking of them as surface, without seeking depth or further understanding. But with time, I started to look inside, lingered, and began to take photographs of the worlds within.” Capital reframes the story of gentrification in a meditation on vestiges and accidental composition. An elegy to a changing city becomes an homage to the anonymous hands that built it.
Mark Hage, long based in New York’s SoHo neighborhood, has taught at Parsons, Harvard, and Yale on the narratives of form and structure from ancient times to the present. His work has appeared in NOON and A Public Space, where he is a contributing editor.
“Each rectangle is its own poem. If I were teaching painting, I would use Capital as a textbook.”
—Anne Elliott, author of The Artstars
“Hage’s own design sense is exquisite: walls of color or lines or blotches, depths of field extending into unlit edges, snaking wires and interior transom windows, all framed to locate the viewer as the sole observer, the watchperson, watching for the next moves of capital.”
—Ron Slate, On the Seawall
“A basic rule for living in a space is that you don’t fill every corner. It is the empty, the negative space, that gives relief to what occupies.”
—Mark Hage, Lit Hub, “The Private Lives of Shuttered Stores”
“Capital’s images capture the vestiges of this neglect with an eye for demolition’s compositional accidents. Hage’s camera zooms in on walls stripped down to scarred and textured abstractions, outlets and wires bereft of purpose, and columns that stand sentry over emptiness.”
—Louis Bury, Hyperallergeric
“As rents and demand, profit and loss, do their dance, hooks and plaster, paint and particleboard register the churn ... Capital is a compendium [of] behind plate glass, and an act of ‘bereavement for a city rapidly becoming something else.’”