The People’s Trust
Michael Vahrenwald
December 4, 2014-January 3, 2015

Michael Vahrenwald’s The People’s Trust is an excavation of the architecture of urban banks. These financial institutions were built with expensive material and classical motifs, symbolizing the permanence and optimism of the American economy. Vahrenwald documents these formerly grand banks that now house fast food and retail chains, mom-and-pop shops, churches, and other commercial entities. Vahrenwald’s photographs speak to changing wealth, class, and power aesthetics in the United States.

Michael Vahrenwald holds an MFA from Yale University and a BFA from Cooper Union. His work has been shown at the Whitney Museum, The Walker Art Center, The Carnegie Museum of Art, and the Nerman Museum. He has had solo exhibitions in New York, Tokyo, Paris, and Chicago. His work has been featured in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Art in America, Blindspot, Dwell, and Architectural Record. Vahrenwald is currently Assistant Professor at Hartford Art School and living in New York City.

The Bowery Savings Bank, New York, NY, 2014
Archival inkjet print, 44″ x 36″
Edition of 3, plus 1 artist’s proof

Broad Street Trust Company, Philadelphia, PA, 2014
Archival inkjet print, 44″ x 36″
Edition of 3, plus 1 artist’s proof

Untitled, New York, NY, 2013
Archival inkjet print, 44″ x 36″
Edition of 3, plus 1 artist’s proof

Detroit Savings Bank, Detroit, MI, 2012
Archival inkjet print, 44″ x 36″
Edition of 3, plus 1 artist’s proof

First National Bank, Wilkes Barre, PA, 2013
Archival inkjet print, 44″ x 36″
Edition of 3, plus 1 artist’s proof

Unknown, Philadelphia, PA, 2014
Archival inkjet print, 44″ x 36″
Edition of 3, plus 1 artist’s proof

New York County National Bank, New York, NY, 2012
Archival inkjet print, 44″ x 36″
Edition of 3, plus 1 artist’s proof

First National Bank and Trust Company, Pittsburgh, PA, 2014
Archival inkjet print, 44″ x 36″
Edition of 3, plus 1 artist’s proof

Beneficial Savings Bank, Philadelphia, PA, 2014
Archival inkjet print, 44″ x 36″
Edition of 3, plus 1 artist’s proof

The First National City Bank of New York, New York, NY, 2011
Archival inkjet print, 44″ x 36″
Edition of 3, plus 1 artist’s proof

Hap Edition, 2014
Handmade artist’s book, 4.25″ x 5. 25″
Edition of 30