Through photographs and a collection of ephemera, Joe’s Junk Yard tells the story of an empire built on the steel of crashed El Caminos and used car parts, the effects of a changing economy and shifts in societal values, and the decades long struggle of a first generation immigrant family to maintain the American Dream.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.
Whether or not you go, the book of the same name, Joe's Junk Yard, explores the achievement and subsequent demise of the American Dream. Lisa Kereszi's grandfather was a first-generation American and boxer-turned-junkman, who built an empire of used cars and scrap metal in Chester, Pennsylvania, during the 1950s boom era, which was gradually eroded by a series of misfortunes. Kereszi's disquieting, tender photographs of the last decade of the junkyard, accompanied by business ephemera and family scrapbook photographs, tell the story of this family and its struggles with a changing economy, urban decline, family feuds, tragic and untimely deaths and the challenges of an independent business. In this photographic series, begun before she pursued formal studies in photography and continued during her years at Bard College and at Yale University, Kereszi repeatedly locates themes and motifs of impermanence and loss in the landscape of the junkyard.
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