press release

January 4 - March 7, 2020

The Disappointed Tourist is an on-going collection of paintings of lost sites by Ellen Harvey. This is its first exhibition before it travels to the Turner Contemporary in the U.K. next year.

We live in a world that often feels as though it is vanishing before our eyes. Places we love disappear. Places we have hoped to visit cease to exist. The forces of war, time, ideology, greed and natural disaster are constantly remaking places that we love but cannot control or save. The Disappointed Tourist comes from the very human urge to physically repair what has been broken. It makes symbolic restitution, literally remaking lost sites, at the same time that it acknowledges the inadequacy of such restitution. It attempts to honor the trauma underlying the often toxic nostalgia that results from our collective and individual losses while reveling in the sheer oddity of human attachment to places both real and aspirational.

The sites depicted are a combination of famous lost sites and sites that are currently being crowd-sourced in response to the question:

What place do you miss that has been destroyed? (Please pick a site that you would have recommended to a visitor (prior to its destruction) or that you have always wanted to visit.

The goal is to create a level playing field in which personal losses and larger cultural losses can meet and be recognized and is inspired both by old postcards of lost sites and by the pre-photographic tradition of tourist paintings.

Visitors to the exhibition are invited to suggest sites for future paintings. Several lost sites from Milwaukee, including the old train depot and the Layton Gallery of Art are already included in the exhibition.

Ellen Harvey is a British-born artist living and working in Brooklyn. She is a 2016 recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship in the Visual Arts and a graduate of the Whitney Independent Study Program.

She has exhibited extensively in the U.S. and internationally and was included in the 2008 Whitney Biennial. Solo museum exhibitions include Metal Painting at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, The Unloved at the Groeninge Museum in Bruges, Belgium, The Alien’s Guide to the Ruins of Washington DC at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington DC, The Nudist Museum at the Bass Museum in Miami Beach, Ruins are More Beautiful at the Center for Contemporary Art in Warsaw, Poland, Mirror at the Pennsylvania Academy in Philadelphia and A Whitney for the Whitney at Philip Morris at the Whitney Museum at Altria in New York. Her work is currently being exhibited at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum as part of its group exhibition “Weather.” The Disappointed Tourist, a retrospective of her work, will be opening at the Turner Contemporary in the UK in the summer of 2020.

Harvey is also a prolific public artist with commissions for New York Percent for Art, New York Arts in Transit, the Chicago Transit Authority, the Philadelphia International Airport, the Federal Art in Architecture program, the San Francisco Airport, the WTS-Boston and the Flemish National Architect. Her Belgian project, Repeat, won the Wivina Demeester Prize for Commissioned Public Art in 2016. She has recently completed Atlantis, a new permanent installation commissioned for the Miami Beach Convention Center.

Harvey’s work has been the subject of several books including New York Beautification Project, published by G. R. Miller & Co. in 2005, Mirror, published by the Pennsylvania Academy in 2006, Ellen Harvey: The Unloved, published by Hannibal in 2014 and Ellen Harvey: Museum of Failure, published by G. R. Miller & Co. in 2015.

She is represented by Danese / Corey Gallery in New York, Locks Gallery in Philadelphia, Meessen de Clerq Gallery in Brussels, Belgium and Galerie Gebruder Lehman in Germany.