Matthew Buckingham, ‘Traffic Report‘, 2005 Courtesy of the artist and Murray Guy Currents 94: Matthew Buckingham
April 1 – June 12, 2005
Saint Louis Art Museum
One Fine Arts Drive, Forest Park
St. Louis, Missouri 63110-1380
Artist’s Lecture and Exhibition Preview
Thursday, March 31, 7:00 pm.
Traffic Report, 2005, a new installation by Matthew Buckingham, premieres at the Saint Louis Art Museum in April. The work is a looped sequence of still images projected onto a screen and an audio loop played back on a parabolic speaker, installed together in a darkened gallery. Buckingham photographed a stretch of downtown St. Louis where much of a neighborhood was demolished to make way for freeway development. “Today the area has the feel of a suburban office park that was somehow left out of the 19th century grid and developed much later than its surroundings,” explains Buckingham. “I wanted to investigate this erasure of a particular time and place.”
1965 was the year that the last tenant was removed from the neighborhood, and Buckingham locates the Traffic Report in that year by populating the streets with cars dating from 1965 and earlier. The audio component of the installation features an announcer reading a series of newspaper headlines from 1965. For the artist, the news items form a kind of “traffic report” that reflects and analyzes different speeds of traffic to be found in cities like St. Louis – the traffic patterns that evolve over time in the urban environment as people move from one part of the city to another, either in their daily routine or in the course of their lifetimes.
During his residency in St. Louis, Buckingham heard a great deal of debate in the media and in private conversations about how St. Louis should be “rebuilt.” With Traffic Report, he connects this contemporary discussion to past moments in St. Louis and other cities.
Currents 94: Matthew Buckingham is part of a series of exhibitions featuring the work of contemporary artists at the Saint Louis Art Museum. The series is supported by the Henry L. and Natalie E. Freund Endowment Fund, which supports the exhibition and acquisition of contemporary art at the Saint Louis Art Museum and the teaching principles of contemporary art at the School of Fine Arts, Washington University. This exhibition was curated by Robin Clark, associate curator of contemporary art, and is on view April 1 through June 12.