While most of Sherman’s film stills are set in relatively generic and anonymous locations, the present work is set apart in the way it not only employs but also emphasizes location as an indispensable part of the narrative. The building seen in the background of Untitled Film Still #60 is an old 19th century tenement home south of Canal Street, which was the lone building that remained standing when Washington Market was torn down in the late 1960s to pave the way for new development projects – among them, the World Trade Center. Adding to its historical importance, this building was lived in by a sculptor who won a widely publicized court case to stay in his rent controlled apartment, where he remained from the late 1960s until 2003. Moreover, the building is seen in critically acclaimed photographic series The Destruction of Lower Manhattan by Danny Lyon, who photographed the area before and during its tragic demolition. Lastly and most importantly, this exact building was featured in Joan Jonas’s distinguished outdoor performance piece Delay Delay from 1972, which was consequently turned into the 1973 film Songdelay. It is this distinctive setting that imbues the present work with powerful narrative and in turn renders it a rare stand-out amongst the film stills that revels in the story of a real place with a remarkable history of its own.
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