What’s amusing about Sherman’s Kosovo shots is their very American origin. Sherman bought the camera that captured them with money he won on Who Wants to Be A Millionaire? The summer before law school — during which he bartended on a cruise ship that circled Manhattan and worked at a “ghetto summer camp” on Long Island — Sherman saw the Regis Philbin game show one night and auditioned online. Months later, a few weeks into his first year of law school, he was in the hot seat, answering this $125,000 multiple-choice question: “This beverage, made by a pharmacist of the name Caleb Bradham, was formerly called Brad’s Drink.” The correct response? Pepsi.
Sherman has that ABC-funded camera with him today. Again, he’s using it to document historical relics like the Flying Comet and a now-charred Whalom ballroom where Duke Ellington once played. Clearly, Whalom isn’t anything like Kosovo, but the abandoned ride-scape is representative of Sherman’s wrecking-ball-bound aesthetic. “A lot of places I take photographs of get torn down relatively shortly after,” Sherman explained in the drive here. In fact, Whalom Park reportedly faces that most American of destinies: goodbye Flying Comet, hello condominiums.
Stu Sherman’s “Kosovo Punk” hangs through Monday, February 20, at the Zeitgeist Gallery, 1353 Cambridge Street, Inman Square, Cambridge | free | 617.876.6060.
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