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South Portland and the Long Shadow of Urban Renewal | Writer, Consultant

Architectural Heritage Center, Portland, OR. November 2020 to March 2021

Both photos: Val Ballestrem / Architectural Heritage Center

Concept and highlights. Exhibit tells the story of Portland's first implementation of urban renewal in the 80-acre South Portland neighborhood. While previous exhibits, including the AHC's own Rebuilding South Portland (Fall 2010-Spring 2011), have focused on the demolition brought about to support urban renewal, this exhibit focuses on the architecture built in its place. Its main contention is that where other urban renewal projects were responses to what planners saw as urban problems, Portland's largest and most important example was instead built on civic ambitions.

Role. Consulted with curator, the AHC's Val Ballestrem, to help develop core exhibit concept to both differentiate it from previous exhibits, and to include the latest scholarly work. Conducted archival research, wrote the interpretive texts, and contributed to image acquisitions. Much of the work was drawn from original research undertaken for my master's thesis, Blight and the Younger City: Unraveling the Motives and Methods of Redevelopment (UC Berkeley, 2015) and my dissertation Blighted Ambitions: Federal Policy, Public Housing, and Redevelopment on the West Coast, 1937-1954 (UC Berkeley, 2020).

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After Promontory: 150 Years of Transcontinental Railroading | Curator

Center for Railroad Photography & Art, Madison, WI.
Multiple locations (see below), 2019+

All photos: Scott Lothes / Center for Railroad Photography & Art. Courtesy BYU

Concept and highlights. Exhibit marks the 150th anniversary of the completion of the nation's first transcontinental railroad, as well as the important relationship that has long existed between this mode of transportation and the art and technology of photography. To reach a large and diverse audience, this exhibit was built around a concept of using reproduction images, allowing for multiple simultaneous stagings in a variety of locations and conditions. Additionally, the core content went beyond photography of the first transcontinental, reframing its completion in May 10 1869 not as a single event, but rather as an opening of a 50-year period of technological development in the American West, one with lasting impacts on the built and natural landscapes of the present. Images were sourced from the finest institutional and private collections, as well as from a dozen living artists who continue to document the railroad-altered landscapes of the West, including Guggenheim fellows Stuart Klipper and Mark Ruwedel.

Role. Creation of concept, begining in collab with the commissioning organization in 2013, then assumption of curatorial leadership in 2017. Curatorial duties included image selection, historical resaerch, interpretive texts and captions, and managing rights and reproductions. Organized a curatorial advisory board consisting of Matthew Cooldige (Center for Land Use Interpretation), Sandra Phillips (curatori emerita, SFMOMA), Martha Sandweiss (Princeton), and Glenn Willumson (University of Florida). Asisted in image selection for the companion book, pubished by the Center in 2019. Co-organized opening symposia at BYU March 29-30, 2019.

Locations. A travelling exhibit, After Promontory premiered at the Brigham Young University Museum of Art on March 29, 2019. This was preceeded by openings of partial and complete stagings in Cheyenne, Omaha, and Denver the same Spring.

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Public Lectures

Photo: Eric Baumgartner / Center for Railroad Photography & Art.

I frequently speak to groups about design, architecture, and infrastructure; urban history and cultural landscapes, and practices of visual representation. Past talks include: