Midway is somewhere between becoming and being; between entropy and stasis; between learning and knowing; between alienation and belonging; between isolation and community; between immigration and assimilation; between urban and suburban; between poetry and blight. Midway is a metaphor and it’s a state of mind. It’s also an airport.
Midway is a project that explores the twilight zones of urbanity that exists between neighborhoods that are geographically, ethnically and socio-economically more distinct. The heart of it is Midway Airport in Chicago, one of the few airports in the United States embedded within a residential area of a city. It is a rock thrown in the middle of a pond of humanity with the economic and cultural ripples extending for miles in every direction.
Though all working class, the Midway community is difficult to define and routinely ignored by everyone going to the airport to fly to places that are far more exotic. Just about every ethnic group in the city lives here against a backdrop of strip malls, fast food, light industry, shipping and transportation. Everyone is midway between poverty and middle class, all striving to be somewhere else, although very few have flown on the jets that make their dishes rattle every ten minutes. There’s nowhere less romantic. The challenge is to weave all these incoherent pieces together in a body of work that could be from anywhere in the United States, because it is emphatically midway, and distinctly nowhere.
About Paul D’Amato
Paul D’Amato (American, 1956- ) was born in Boston where he attended Boston Latin School at the height of racial unrest, civil rights, and bussing. He moved to Oregon to attend Reed College and claims to have learned as much from traveling cross-country four times a year -often by hitch-hiking and hopping freight trains – as he did in class. After receiving an MFA from Yale School of Art, he moved to Chicago where he discovered the communities of Pilsen and Little Village. The pictures and writing D’Amato produced there over the next fourteen years were made into the book, “Barrio”. His most recent book of images made in the African-American community on the west side, entitled “Here/Still/Now”, was awarded the Lucie Foundation Book Prize in 2018. He has been awarded numerous grants and fellowships including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Pollock-Krasner Grant, and a Rockefeller Foundation Grant to Bellagio, Italy and his work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and The Art Institute of Chicago among many others. [Official Website]