Exhibitions - New York City Building Time Lapse, 2009 – 2013

Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao
New York City Building Time Lapse, 2009 – 2013

11.09.13 – 01.19.14

Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao, Blue Scaffolding, 5/7/10. Pigment inkjet print, Collection of the Queens Museum, gift of the artist, (2013.31.1).

For the duration of the Queens Museum’s expansion, Queens-based photographer Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao has been in residence capturing the metamorphosis of the New York City Building. The resulting body of work, New York City Building Time Lapse, 2009-2013: Photographs by Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao, presents a series of 37 of Liao’s color photographs including nine large-format 30 x 72 in. pigment ink prints, and a contact sheet of the same size consisting of 28 other images. Depicted in Time Lapse are worn walls in various states of demolition and construction and stairwells lined in original terra cotta tiles reminiscent of the building’s Beaux-Arts architecture, contrasting with bird’s eye views of barrel-vaulted ceilings revealing the modernist elements of the Grimshaw redesign.


Liao’s technique is characterized by his use of a large-format 4 x 5 in. film camera, used for shooting multiple exposures of the same site over the course of several hours or even days. The resulting negatives are then scanned and processed in Photoshop, meticulously merged and layered into a unique image with adjustments in color, contrast, and brightness. His monumental pigment ink prints capture the minute details of his subject, providing a sense of light and texture that otherwise could never occur naturally in a single exposure.


In addition, architectural renderings and archival photographs will convey the rich history of the building from its role as the New York City Pavilion in the 1939-40 and 1964-65 World’s Fairs, home of the United Nations General Assembly (1946-1950), and site of both the Queens Museum (1972 – today) and the World’s Fair Skating Rink (1941- 1945; 1952-1962; 1966-2008). In addition to Liao’s commissioned work, this exhibition features materials from the New York City Department of Parks, The Museum of the City of New York, United Nations Photo Library, New York City Department of Environmental Protection, and the Museum’s own holdings.


JEFF CHIEN-HSING LIAO (b. 1977 Taiwan) emigrated to the U.S. in 1999 at the age of 18, where he immediately took residence in Queens in close proximity to the 7 line, dubbed by the Department of City Planning as the “International Express.” He earned an MFA from the School of Visual Arts and a BFA from the Pratt Institute. Liao’s renowned Habitat 7 Series, for which he received critical acclaim, stemmed from his master’s thesis at SVA. Taken over the course of two years, Liao depicted the ethnic diversity of the communities along the 7 train subway line on its seven mile route from Manhattan to Flushing. As a winner of the New York Times Magazine “Capture the Times” photography contest in 2005, this major debut cemented his status as a prominent photographer. Liao’s work has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions, and can be found in the permanent collections of several institutions such as the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston; Queens Museum and the Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York; J. Paul Getty Museum; George Eastman House-International Museum of Photography and Film; the Norton Museum of Art; and Deutsche Bank. His first monograph, Habitat 7, was published by Nazraeli Press in 2008 and his second monograph, Coney Island, was published in 2013. Currently, Liao is working with Aperture for his next major book, Five Boroughs.


This exhibition has been organized by Louise Weinberg, Queens Museum Registrar, Archives Manager and Curator.



The Taipei Cultural Center of TECO in New York and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Additional funding provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.