The art of destruction

After a casual stroll through “Building Violence,” one may imagine a politically minded artist behind these massive photographs, which present bleak urban landscapes — labyrinths of industrial metal along the Northeast Corridor.

But 24-year-old photographer Michael J. Dalton II has a more personal, intimate connection with his subjects. As a construction worker in New York, Dalton is viscerally connected to the violence of creating buildings — and destroying them. “It’s not a form of critique at all,” he says, while installing the show at 3rd Street Gallery in Old City. “It’s more of an observation. In some sense I’m also praising our ability to make [structures].”

Walking through the gallery, Dalton picks a hammer off the floor. The object somehow seems too big in the young artist’s hands. “Like, this is my hammer from work,” he explains with a giant sweeping motion. “I’ve definitely done some damage with it, but it’s so funny because that damage is building something.”

Dalton’s co-workers are featured in the exhibit. “There’s not that many guys I can talk to about this stuff,” he says of his fellow Local 731 Laborers Union members. “A lot of times I’m just in my head, thinking and rethinking these ideas.”

If you go

‘Building Violence’

Runs through August 4

3rd Street Gallery

58 N. Second St.

More from our Sister Sites