Birth of the Cool: Danny Heller's Look At Mid-Century Manhattan
California-born Danny Heller focuses on American mood and place, and his latest body of work. Birth of the Cool, now in its final week at New York's George Billis Gallery, celebrates the continued fascination with the "cool" lifestyles of mid-century Manhattan.
After diving into the surf landscapes of Santa Barbara, Heller concentrates on chronicling Modern American imagery such as architecture, design, and car culture. Throughout his work, he shows how structures, once revered for their groundbreaking ideas in design and social planning, have been perpetuated, then forgotten. By playing with light, perspective and color, the artist documents an endangered architectural culture in the country, with an impeccable, realistic style adding to the authenticity of the images.
Birth of the Cool features a series of imperiled New York sites that are under constant threat of development. By immortalizing the city’s historic landscape, Heller also pays tribute to an era in which, "architecture was forward-thinking, guests dressed their best for airline travel, and the jet age influenced automobile design." The optimism and productive energy of such a dynamic and evolving society are evident in every detail, from the iconic lines of a 1959 Ford Galaxie to the organic curves of an Eames chair. Captured in full shine, with carefully chosen angles and light sources casting an atmospheric glow, the work urges viewers to reconnect with the still vital remnants of by-gone times.
This body of work puts focus on the creative exuberance and bold aesthetics of contemporary design that glow with their own presence. These cityscapes harmonize and hearken time's past, frozen in their eternal "cool". –Sasha Bogojev
Birth of the Cool is on view through Saturday, December 7, 2019.