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Caleb Stein / Down by the Hudson

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Caleb Stein

Caleb Stein (b. 1994, UK) is a multimedia artist currently based in the U.S. His work has been exhibited internationally, often as an artist duo with Andrea Orejarena (b. 1994, Colombia). Work is available through Vin Gallery in HCMC, The Curator’s Room in Amsterdam, and Rose Gallery in LA. Orejarena & Stein have been nominated for a number of major photographic awards, including the Hariban/Benrido Award (with Orejarena, chosen by YasufumiNakamori, Senior Curator of Photography at Tate Modern), and the W. Eugene Smith Grant (with Orejarena, jurors include Teju Cole). Independently, Stein has been nominated for major photographic awards, including a recent LensCulture nomination by Legacy Russell (Senior Director, The Kitchen).

A book of Orejarena & Stein’s work ‘Long Time No See’ was just published and will be available to the public through Jiazazhi Press in August of 2022, with texts by Đ Tường Linh and Forensic Architecture, designed in collaboration with Brian Paul Lamotte. Stein is currently working on an artist book of his photographs from ‘Down by the Hudson’, his long-term 'ode’ to Poughkeepsie; text contributions to this ‘Down by the Hudson’ book project include an introduction by Amitava Kumar (Professor of English, Vassar College) and an afterword by Matt Carey-Williams (Senior Director, Victoria Miro Gallery).

Stein’s work has been published in The New York Times, The Guardian, i-D Vice, Vogue Italia, It’s Nice That, WePresent, Hamburger Eyes, and Paper Journal Magazine, among many other places. In 2020, a short documentary about ‘Down by the Hudson’ was commissioned by Somewhere Magazine (directed by Andrea Orejarena). Stein’s work is in a number of public & private collections, including the Nguyen Art Foundation (with Orejarena), the Frances Lehman Loeb Museum, and the Ann Tenenbaum & Thomas H. Lee Family Collection (with Orejarena).

Down by the Hudson

Artist Statement

Down by the Hudson is my personal ode to Poughkeepsie, NY, a small town in upstate NY where I lived for five years. I was raised in big cities and didn’t know much about small American towns other than conceptions I had inherited from things like Norman Rockwell illustrations, Grant Wood paintings, and Life Magazine spreads. So, I started to walk along the town's Main Street - every day, I walked for years, learning and responding to its rhythms. These walks became a way of forming my own sense of place. I've realized that a lot of what I do is try to understand my relationship to the U.S., my adopted home.

In 2016, the presidential and local elections were almost neck-and-neck between political parties in Poughkeepsie, to the point where you could have fit the difference into a bar on a Saturday night. The day after the election, the sense of tension and conflict became palpable as I walked down Poughkeepsie's Main Street. I learned that in the 1990s, IBM's local headquarters downsized and left thousands unemployed. In many ways, Poughkeepsie is like countless other small American towns grappling with the effects of post-industrialization.

The town’s watering hole felt like a counterpoint to the rest of the town because so much of its political tension dissipates in this safe haven. It's right by a drive-in movie theater on the outskirts of town, across from the local American Legion outpost. Families have been going there for generations. In this space, Trump supporters swam next to people of many different backgrounds. The sense of conflict that is usually so pronounced in this country relaxes in this space. The watering hole feels like a modern-day Eden to me.

8 August

Notes From a Detour - Hartford MFA Photo Thesis Show 2022

15 September

Beekeeper by Sadie Catt at Serchia