All over New York City, often hidden in tiny rent-controlled apartments that have survived many waves of gentrification in their surrounding neighborhoods, there are slightly delusional (and perhaps even secretly brilliant) artists, writers, and recluses of all kinds who to this day are continuing to hoard their precious manuscripts, newspapers, records, memorabilia, and artwork that nobody’s ever seen.
Only a privileged few gain access to these dwellings, which are in themselves mini-worlds; each of these apartments is like a museum, devoted exclusively to the compulsive collecting habits of its owner. It’s no shock that there is a New York-based company, Disaster Masters, that finds these compulsive hoarders, counsels them and helps them to clean up their apartments (Sidenote: did you know that in Japan there are similar companies that try to coax teenage boys into leaving their rooms? Read about it here.)
Between 2003 and 2005, photographer Michael Schmelling accompanied Disaster Masters to 12 different apartments, making it his prerogative to document each apartment pre-cleanup, while it was still in its most natural, chaotic state. The result is The Plan, a 576-page book, featuring 490 black and white photographs, with an entire chapter dedicated to each home.
Thanks to Schmelling, these remnants of New York history are now preserved for us all to see. Come take a look at what he’s captured at Family’s book launch for The Plan, where Schmelling will discuss his work, accompanied by a slide show, question-and-answer session, and book signing at the end.
Sunday, May 10th, 7:30pm
436 N. Fairfax Ave. / Los Angeles, CA 90036
For more info, visit http://www.familylosangeles.com/