The Civic Arena

The photos below can be found as as part of the Permanent Collection at Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh.

In September 2011 when I heard that the Civic Arena was going to be demolished, my initial reaction was to photograph the building as a personal memento of the now historic site. On the evening of September 24, 2011, just an hour before sundown, I took my photograph of the Civic Arena–a dynamic shot with perfect dawn lighting that highlights the steel structure that supported the retractable roof. It wasn’t until I returned home that evening to edit my one photograph that I realized I needed to take more. For the next week I went to the site every morning and evening to photograph the Civic Arena from various angles, perspectives, and levels of natural light.  Each day as I discovered more about the architecture of the building and the surrounding neighborhood–I knew it would be worthwhile to document the demolition of the building and the changing faces of the surrounding neighborhood. By March 23, 2012, with the demolition of the building nearly complete, I felt there was nothing more worth photographing. With new plans for the Civic Arena coming to fruition, my photo documentation feels more relevant than ever. 

I exhibited this series of photographs in an exhibition titled Last Light at the Photo Forum Gallery in the upper lobby of the USX tower in the summer of 2013. The exhibit included nearly thirty 32”x40” prints, one 44”x84” print, and one 44”x54” print. This set of photographs is one of the most comprehensive documentations of the Civic Arena and can be seen around Pittsburgh including in the permanent collection of the Carnegie Museum of Art (CMoA). One photo from the series, Civic Arena Yields to the Pittsburgh Skyline (2012) is currently on view in the Scaife Gallery at the CMoA as part of the ongoing exhibition A Pittsburgh Anthology.

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