BEAUTY FOUND IN THE SHADOWS OF THE PAST – Photographs Capture the Beauty of Destruction and Neglect of Former Psychiatric Hospital



Photographs Capture the Beauty of Destruction and Neglect of Former Psychiatric Hospital


Lakeville, CT, May 18, 2015 – Award-winning photographer, artist and filmmaker, Avery Danziger, opens “Seeking Permanence” for a limited-engagement exhibition on June 4 at the Howland Cultural Center in Beacon, NY.   An openings artists’ reception is Saturday, June 4 from 3 – 5 pm. This exciting photography exhibition that runs through July 17 draws visitors to the past to the paradoxical beauty expressed in the slow transformation of man-made order to the beauty of natural chaos.

“When I was introduced to Avery’s work at the Harlem Valley Psychiatric Center, I expected, and was really not interested in seeing, photos of broken wheelchairs, empty medicine bottles, stark, monastic rooms, and other sad mementos of an institution and an era when psychiatric medicine and procedures might have gone awry,” said Tino Galluzzo, co-director of The White Gallery representing Danziger’s work.  “Instead, I saw images of what man had built being repossessed by nature and the beauty an artist can find in destruction and neglect. And, Avery is quite an artist.”

The state hospital, the focus of Danziger’s lens, closed in 1994,  and for the past 22 years has been left in disrepair as developers battle to reinvent its future. Danziger discovered the hospital while out on a drive.

“The abandoned buildings piqued my interest, so I got out and started peering in through some of the windows,“ said Danziger.  “I was stunned by the chaotic beauty of the rooms within. It was an eery beauty – as much as time was expected to stand-still it didn’t – and the decaying buildings, and their history within, took on a life of its own.“

Danziger quickly contacted the owners of the property and asked for permission to photograph. The permission was granted with the proviso that he wear a Hazmat suit to shoot inside the buildings.  “Inside was toxic,“ said Danziger.  “Years of decay filled the air with toxic mold and the building was full of asbestos and lead paint.“

Danziger explored the facility for several weeks and shot over 5,000 photographs of which 40 will be on display at the Howland exhibit. The color, composition and subject are artfully presented in the photographs that are undeniably impacted by the location, but, not driven by the past.

Galluzzo said, “The Howland Center, because of its architecture and historical significance is a perfect venue for this show. The building and the art complement.”

The Howland Cultural Center is located at 477 Main Street, Beacon, NY.  For more information, please visit;, or Facebook/White Gallery; or call The Howland Cultural Center at 845-831-4988 or The White Gallery at 860-435-1029.  Email: or

Author: Harlem Valley News