Cynthia Connolly: Letters on Top of Buildings
An alumna of the Corcoran School of Art (now the Corcoran College of Art + Design), Connolly documented Washington’s legendary punk rock scene from the 1980s into the 1990s, making portraits of its most committed participants and producing the photography book Banned in DC. More recently, Connolly has directed her lens toward commercial displays and details of vernacular architecture, particularly elements of our surroundings in transition or facing obsolescence. Much of this work draws on traditions established by photographer Walker Evans and California artist Ed Ruscha, both important inspirations for the artist. Connolly’s series Letters on Top of Buildings is rooted in childhood memories of riding in the backseat of her mother’s car, with a view across the building tops from Los Angeles’s elevated freeways. These typographic signs, which advertise resident businesses, seem like relics of a bygone era, exemplars of a more colloquial period of commercial marketing and civic pride. The twelve photographs that comprise Letters on Top of Buildings are a promised gift to the Corcoran’s collection.