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On Labor

A Visual Dialogue

On view November 7 - December 10, 2012

UPDATE: Show extended until January 2, 2013

OAS | AMA F Street Gallery
1889 F St., NW (Corner of 18th Street)
Washington, DC 20006

Hours MON-FRI 9 AM-5 PM

This exhibit presents a dialogue between two discrete yet complementary perspectives on labor in our late-industrial age. At the heart of this dialogue is the issue of transformative labor. By focusing on either the production of new objects or the recyclability of used and discarded objects, this dialogue seeks to shed new light on the relationship between humans and machines and, ultimately, to transform our understanding of capital, raw materials, productivity, monotony, responsibility, communion, and solidarity.

On one side, Jaime Permuth's Yonkeros puts forward a poetic view of a recycling yard in Willets Point, Queens. The name Yonkeros is a Spanish play on the English expression "junk," and designates people who work or are otherwise intimately tied up with junk. The series captures the diversity of faces and the uncanny landscape of a junkyard. Jaime's work lends itself to a close-up and intimate look at the labor of yonkeros, capturing contrasting textures and elements of that labor.

On the other side, Ian Wagreich's series Blue America at Work documents factory workers in the US. Bringing his experience with documentaries to bear on the subject of transformative labor, Ian's photographs transmit the industrialist aspect, the overbearing abstract instrumentality of the surroundings, without losing sight of the workers, not just as functionaries, but also as unique personalities. As such, this series depicts with emotional honesty and conceptual sharpness the tensions that exist on the frontlines of production between humans and machines.


Jaime Permuth
Ian Wagreich

Quality Float Works, Inc.
Bill Levy
Mrs. Renfro's