Ian Lewandowski
Community Board

Opening Reception Saturday, December 14th 6-9PM

The Ice Palace is a nightclub within the Grove Hotel, located in the Cherry Grove district of the Fire Island National Seashore, a mostly queer resort designation parallel to the southern shore of Long Island. The Grove is situated in a busy crosswalk between the neighboring Sunken Forest on the west side, the Pines on the east. A few community bulletin boards are installed outside, littered with sun-faded postcards produced by local businesses or sole proprietors, ads for AA meetings, "All Are Welcome" church services, and HIV testing facilities. Locals, maybe tourists, make contact. There are fliers advertising series of weekly parties and shows, some that maybe have ended since it’s now mid-September. They flap in the sea wind.

Most of these photographs are test shots from portrait sessions of the last several months, made on the long discontinued Polaroid Type 50 series 4x5" instant film. Their chemistry is largely expired, causing the color and contrast to shift significantly among other errors, and rendering them useless as tests for sheets of color negative or slide film. These "tests" instead invoke a Polaroid's characteristic properties: they are singular in nature, attempts built on precarious foundations.

In 2001 the Polaroid corporation filed for bankruptcy protection, and in 2008 announced it would cease production of all its patented instant films for good, filing for bankruptcy protection a second time. A portion of the Grove was destroyed in a fire in March 2015. Although the fire was not one of malicious intent, the violence that later took place at Pulse nightclub in Orlando in 2016 does not feel altogether separate. It helps me to visualize declarations of safe spaces for queer people (and their subsequent ruptures) as grandiose, albeit temporary, structures that must constantly be mourned and rebuilt simultaneously. It is imperative that this cycle be generative.


Ian Lewandowski (born 1990) is a photographer from Northwest Indiana. He’s exhibited photographs at School 33 Art Center (Baltimore), 1969 Gallery (New York), Skylab Gallery (Columbus), and Lamar Dodd School of Art (Athens). Ian has been published in Unseen, The Fader, American Chordata, and Capricious. In 2017 Dashwood Books published Vigil (RHYTHM) Vigil, a volume of his photographs alongside paintings and drawings by his partner Anthony Cudahy, which was in 2018 featured in theQueering Space group exhibition at Alfred University (Alfred). He holds an MFA from the State University of New York at Purchase. Ian’s work negotiates picture and body histories. He lives in Brooklyn.

1. Daniel 2019. Type 55 Polaroid. Unique. 4.25x5.75”
2. Community Board XVI (Billy's Bathroom) 2019. Archival inkjet print. Edition of 25. 24x30”

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