Steuben Glass is pleased to host an exhibition in the gallery at Steuben’s Flagship Store on Madison Avenue of the photographs of celebrated American Photographer Stephen Wilkes. “Ellis Island” is a show comprised of Wilkes’ haunting Ilfochrome prints. The work began as an assignment to photograph the “dark side” of Ellis Island that no one sees, and eventually turned into an obsession, several exhibitions, and a book.
For five years, 1998-2003, Wilkes had free reign of the hospital complex that comprises the south end of Ellis Island. Neglected for nearly fifty years, the buildings were in an extreme state of disrepair: lead paint peeled from the ceiling and walls of rooms, vines and trees grew through the floorboards of once-cramped wards, detritus and debris littered in the hallways. In spaces long abandoned, Wilkes manages to capture undeniable evidence of life. His is an alternate and breathtaking vision of this gateway to freedom. And through his artwork, Wilkes inspired and eventually helped raise six million dollars in funding towards the restoration of the south side of the island.
Stephen Wilkes had been widely recognized for his artwork for over two decades. His images have been reproduced on the covers of such top publications as Sports Illustrated, Time, Life, and The New York Times Magazine. His work is represented in the permanent collection of the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York. He is represented by New York gallery ClampArt.