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Intrepid Unearthed
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Intrepid Unearthed
November 08, 2008 to November 1, 2009
Photo by Lisa Kereszi
When a team of powerful tugboats first tried to tow the Intrepid from her Hudson River berth in November 2006, the ship barely budged. A quarter-century of being moored at Pier 86 had left the ship’s propellers buried in deep mud. After extensive dredging by the Naval Sea Systems Command and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, three tugboats successfully pulled the ship free from the riverbed on December 5, 2006, the first step in a two-year restoration of the ship’s hull and renovation of her interior.

Unearthing the Intrepid from her home in the Hudson River offered a singular opportunity to uncover the hidden history within the ship. While some of the Intrepid’s historic spaces have been restored, many other compartments and corridors have remained virtually untouched since the ship’s decommissioning in 1974. The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum commissioned five early to mid-career architectural photographers from New York to interpret the ship’s unrenovated spaces. Selected by museum curatorial staff with the advice of architectural photographer Judith Turner and photography curator Sylvia Wolf, the photographs exhibited here reveal the Intrepid as a rich archaeological site, parts of which have remained remarkably undisturbed over the past three decades.

This exhibition was made possible with the generous support of the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.

Featured Photographers

Justine Cooper was born in Sydney, Australia in 1968 and currently resides in New York. She earned a bachelor’s degree in photography from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in 1990 and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Sydney University in 1998. Her work has been extensively exhibited internationally at such institutions as the New Museum of Contemporary Art, the Singapore Museum of Art, the Netherlands Institute for Media Art, and the Centre Pompidou. Justine was the first artist-in-residence at the American Museum of Natural History, and she has received numerous grants. Her work is held in private and public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Australian Center for the Moving Image. Justine says, “Visually documenting the Intrepid is an opportunity to glimpse both the traces of its former inhabitants’ life on board and the monumentality of the carrier, capturing both its grandeur and its entropy in the moment before its transformation to a new icon for the 21st century.”

Benjamin Donaldson was born in Hanover, New Hampshire in 1969. He earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in photography from Massachusetts College of Art in 1998 and a master of fine arts degree from Yale University School of Art in 2001. His photographs are in the collection of the Yale University Libraries, as well as several private collections. His publication credits include ARTnews, Details, House and Garden, The New Yorker, The New York Times, Nylon, and W. His commercial clients include Yale University. In 2003, Benjamin was included in the Photo District News list of 30 emerging photographers. Recently, he was a recipient of the 2008 Connecticut Commission of Culture and Tourism Artist Grant. He is on the faculty of Hunter College and the School of Visual Arts, and has been a guest lecturer at Yale University and Yale University School of Art. Benjamin says, "The smells and sounds of the Intrepid are things that cannot be put into photographs directly, but I hope to have conveyed some sort of memorial to the areas that will remain unseen."

Kerry Kehoe was born and raised in New York, earning a B.A. in fine arts from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and a M.A. from New York University/International Center of Photography. She currently lives in New York City and is a freelance photographer. While working as a commercial photographer for 12 years, Kerry became interested in documentary photography. In 1999, she received a scholarship from the Sanctuary of Peace and Harmony to document a sojourn to sacred sites in Egypt. From 2001–2003, Kerry was invited to live in India to photograph the outreach activities of the SYDA Foundation, an international philanthropic non-profit. This work led to two solo shows entitled Portrait of India. As the daughter of a Navy veteran, Kerry was excited and intrigued to combine documentary photography with her personal history for the Intrepid project. She says, “Ships like the Intrepid offer a glimpse into my father’s experience. This project is part of my homage to his memory.”

Lisa Kereszi was born in 1973 in Chester, Pennsylvania. In 1995, she earned a bachelor’s degree from Bard College. She received a master of fine arts degree from Yale University’s School of Art in 2000. Her work has been included in numerous group and solo exhibitions and is held in private and public collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Berkeley Art Museum, and the Yale University Art Gallery. Lisa’s editorial work has appeared in numerous publications such as The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Harper’s, and GQ. She won the 2005 Baum Award for Emerging American Photographers and was included in the Photo District News list of the 30 top emerging photographers in 2003. That year, Lisa was granted a commission to photograph Governor’s Island by the Public Art Fund. Shooting the Intrepid relates to Lisa’s main body of work, which “deals with peeking around corners and down passageways for signs of life.” She explains, “I look for visual poetry in the scratches and scribbles left behind by people from years of passage.”

Dwight Primiano has been creating still photographs for over 30 years, and he currently owns and operates a photography studio in Manhattan. He has produced over 15 portfolios that have been included in one-person and group exhibitions throughout North and South America, South Korea and Russia, and his work is included in both public and private collections. He has produced and directed four independent experimental films and has received grants from the Polaroid Collection and the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. Along with creating art, he specializes in photographing two- and three-dimensional artwork for academic institutions, publishers, museums, collectors and curators throughout the U.S. He has produced hundreds of exhibition catalogs, posters, books and digital catalogs. For Dwight, “Photographing the Intrepid creates an opportunity to utilize one of mankind’s most powerful machines… as a source of photographic inspiration. This idea of the Intrepid’s reincarnation is very captivating because of the larger audience that the work might reach.”
Justine Cooper
Kerry Kehoe
Benjamin Donaldson