‘STATE OF DISREPAIR’ Frank Mullin’s cityscape.
The most striking reminder of the threat to buildings featured on the Providence Preservation Society's "2010 Ten Most Endangered Properties" list is that Brownell & Field Company at 119 Harris Avenue, which the society highlighted because it feared it would be torn down, was approved for demolition on September 20 by the city's Historic District Commission. The owner has let the three-story brick industrial building fall into disrepair, which sapped its historical value. "The hands of the commission were tied in this matter," the PPS notes, "as owner neglect is not reason enough to deny an application for demolition." So the society calls for new standards and guidelines to prevent "demolition by neglect."
The Preservation Society brings attention to these endangered species with an exhibit of photos of the properties at Chabot Fine Art Gallery (379 Atwells Avenue, Providence, through October 16).
Traer Scott photographs the interior of the 1828 Arcade at 130 Westminster Street, which the Preservation Society fears could lose its historic design to renovation. Scott captures the building's signature mix of massive Greek revival columns and the airy skylit interior in green and gray photos with a washed out tone. This gives the photos a classic feel, recalling Currier & Ives prints.
Andrew Dernavich offers handsome black-and-white photos of the stone exterior and clock tower steeple of the Cathedral of St. John at 271 North Main Street, which the society says is deteriorating due to deferred maintenance, though it notes that the church is looking into restoration.
Adam Hall documented the George C. Arnold Building at 98 Washington Street, Providence National Bank Building façade at 50 Weybosset Street, and the Teste Block at 88 Dorrance Street, which could face demolition. Hall's grainy soft-focus photos give the images a faded, antique look.
Brian McDonald photographs Brownell & Field Company and Terminal Warehouse Co. at 338 Allens Avenue, which the Preservation Society says is threatened by neglect and possible demolition. Deb Hickey paints the Kendrick-Prentice-Tirocchi House at 514 Broadway, a grand Italianate "Wedding Cake House" dating to the 1860s, which suffers from deterioration.
Frank Mullin captures sunlight raking across the towers of Rhode Island Hospital's 1900 Southwest pavilion at 593 Eddy Street, which the Preservation Society says has been left to fall into "an extreme state of disrepair" and fears could be demolished. Stephanie Alvarez Ewens photographs the graffitied Temple Beth El (Shaare Zedek Synagogue) on Broad Street, which suffers from vacancy and deterioration. Michael Cevoli records the beautiful spiraling wooden stairs in the 19th-century Atlantic Mills Towers at 100 Manton Avenue, which the Preservation Society says are falling into disrepair, and the wreckage at the 1901 Grove Street Elementary School at 95 Grove Street, which the owners began demolishing without proper permits in 2007, but that was stopped by police; the case has since been in and out of court.
Many of these historic structures are gorgeous, but most of the photos are just okay. The takeaway: even photographing beautiful buildings isn't an easy thing.
REPLICA Mike & Maaike's Imelda Marcos necklace.
The title of the "Chromophilia" exhibit at Craftland (235 Westminster Street, Providence, through October 10) focuses our attention on the bright colors of contemporary studio jewelry, which follows the 1980s revival — a la American Apparel — throughout fashion. But the bigger trend that curators Devienna Anggraini and Islay Taylor identify is a Post-Modern, catholic use of a wide variety of non-precious materials.