TRAINSET GHETTO an urban landscape installation by Peter Feigenbaum

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10 models and photographs, new and old, will be in a group show at The ISE Cultural Foundation at 555 Broadway (basement) in New York.  The show runs March 14 to May 2, 2014.  The opening is March 14, 6-8pm.



Trainset Ghetto is voyeurism more than it is hobbyism. It is the physical byproduct of teenage suburban daydreams and attempts to live vicariously through an alien post-urban 1980s landscape that was in no way part of my quotidian existence-a landscape that I caught glimpses of through car rides down the Bruckner Expressway, Henry Chalfant's photographs, and movies such as "The French Connection" and "Style Wars". But this odd juxtaposition of lifestyles is a well-hidden text. I make few overt attempts to exploit this perverse juxtaposition of place and social circumstance in my photographs. Rather, the primary emphasis is always "setting the scene" in a hyper-real, trompe l'oeil manner. Unlike other "scene-setting" photographers like James Casebere, who works with hazy spatial ambiance, or Gregory Crewdson, who creates uncanny cinematic narratives, Trainset Ghetto is concerned primarily with hyper-realism via an attention to small mundane details of the urban architectural vernacular.

Trainset Ghetto is a by-product of the virtual urban spatial realms that defined my teenage experience in the 1990s-virtual realms found in video games ranging from Sim City to Duke Nuke 'Em to Grand Theft Auto. The motivation to create Trainset Ghetto was cultivated by experiences in these virtual realms. Additionally, there was a desire to objectify these spatial experiences-a desire that could only be fulfilled via miniaturization, a process in which inhabitable spaces become tangible objects. While artists such as Corey Arcangel have responded to the digital realm of the 1990s using similarly digital means, Trainset Ghetto uses anachronistic, analogue means--the age-old pseudo-craft of model railroading.

Trainset Ghetto is not simply a "cheap holiday in other people's misery"-- it is a rigorous examination of the urban architectural vernacular. And it is more than a simple replication; it is an attempt to understand the metaphysics of place within an urban context.

The urban fabric and vernacular architecture of New York is both perpetually familiar and perpetually unfamiliar. Thus my scenes attempt to exploit this ambiguity of place-the feeling of remembering a place that one has never actually visited.

Accordingly, the scenes depicted in my photographs and models have never existed in reality, rather they were informed by vague memories (both real and "cinematically" implanted) of experiences in various parts of New York City. Perhaps the most important components of this vernacular include rooftop water tanks, 25-foot-wide five-story walkups, Italianate cornices, ancient brick facades painted Pepto-Bismol pink, roll-up store-front grates, parapet graffiti, and garish plastic storefront awnings. All of these details I have studied and re-created in miniature with great care.

Thus, Trainset Ghetto achieves hyper-reality, which Jean Baudrillard describes as a simulation of something that never actually existed. The project could also be seen as a perverse parallel to the other great American architectural hyper-reality: Disneyland.

From a stock of nearly fifty buildings created both from scratch and from model railroad structure kits. I can compose an endless array of believable scenes that are brilliantly generic, and almost capable of implanting false memories of my 1970s childhood in the bombed-out Bronx that never happened.



NY Times. June 12, 2011.  Page AR 20.

Wall Street Journal. June 8, 2011.

L Magazine. September, 2010.  Page 48.

Icon Magazine. January, 2006.  Page 31.

"Wrong Side of the Tracks". UK Metro.  November 21, 2005, Page 3.



A new series of models and photos entitled "Naples" was on display at Krause Gallery in New York as part of the "Emerging to Established" Summer Group show.  The show ran July 25 to September 1

A new multiples series entitled "Insurance Fraud" was on display at the Fuse-works Editions and Multiples show, which opened June 14 at Front Room Gallery in Brooklyn, NY.

Two prints and a model were on display at the West Collection's booth at the Pulse Art Fair, May 9 -12, 2013 at the Metropolitan Pavilion on 18th street in New York.

Three photo prints and the installation module from Trainset Ghetto, which were previously featured in the 2011 Otherwordly show at MAD, traveled to Lille, France, for the Lille 3000 exhibition.

Two large-format prints were selected for the West Collects program, and were acquired by the Oaks, PA-based West Collection.

Sets new and old from the Trainset Ghetto were in a show called "Constructing/Building", a two-person show with Filip Zorzor at Galerie Open, Legiendamm 18-20 (Engelbecken) Berlin, Germany.  May 31 - July 21, 2012.

3 large format (30x45) photographic prints from Streetsmart II: XRO were in a solo show at Open Source Gallery at 255 17th street, Brooklyn, NY.  The show ran April 6 -12, 2012.

Video interview on the MAD Museum blog.

Feature and interview in the NY Times and Wall Street Journal for Otherwordly.

Peter showed a collection of new and old photos and installations in a group show called Otherworldly alongside James Casebere and others at The Museum of Arts and Design at 2 Columbus Circle, New York, NY.  The show ran June 6, 2011 to Sept. 18.

Peter is showed his "Menjivar Auto Sound" and the "Brooklyn Module" mutiples in a two part show as part of the Fuseworks: Editions and Multiples program affiliated with Front Room Gallery.  The first showing was at the Art Galleries at Central Connecticut State University at 1615 Stanley Street, New Britain, CT.  It ran through April 21, 2011.  The second show ran June 3-26, 2011 at Front Room Gallery, located at 147 Roebling St. in Brooklyn, NY.

Peter showed his photographic print "187.4" at Tabla Rasa Gallery, 111 Front Street, 2nd Floor, in Brooklyn as part of the Brooklyn Art Now: 2011 Survey Exhibition, curated by Loren Munk.  The exhibition is part of the Verge Brooklyn Art Fair.  It runs Thursday, March 3 to Sunday, March 6.

Peter showed 5 new large format (30x40) photographic prints in a solo show at Open Source Gallery at 255 17th street, Brooklyn, NY.  The show opened on Sept. 4, 2010 and ran until Sept. 30.

Peter showed 10 photographs in the Territories Group Show that is part of VERSION10 Festival in Chicago, which ran April 22 to May 3.  The show was at the Zhou B Art Center at 1029 W 35th street.

Peter participated in the Fuse Works editions and multiples program affiliated with Front Room Gallery in Brooklyn.  There are 3 multiples of the 6"x 4"x 4"piece "Menjivar Auto Sound", priced at $500 each.  The pieces were also shown at the Verge Art Fair.

Peter showed 5 photos from Trainset Ghetto and a new 2'x 2' installation at HEIST Gallery in New York, NY, as part of "The City's Summer Heist" show.  It ran from August 20 to September 1, 2009.

Peter showed 15 photos from Trainset Ghetto and a small installation at The Paul Dietrich Gallery at C7A in Cambridge, MA.  It ran from May 1 to July 31, 2009.

Peter has ten prints in the flat file at Pierogi in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Peter has five prints in the West Collection.

Peter showed 12 photos from Trainset Ghetto and a small installation at Like the Spice in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York.  It was a joint show with Ross Racine and it opened Friday, April 11.  It ran from April 11 to May 11, 2008.

Twelve photos from Peter Feigenbaum's Trainset Ghetto project were featured in
"In the Country of Last Refuge", running from October 20-Nov 17, 2007, at
Gallery Aferro, 73 Market Street, Newark, NJ.  



vestal design blog




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((((((((((((PETER FEIGENBAUM was born in May, 1984.  He is from Massachusetts. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.