CHICAGO — Lynn Saville‘s photography series Vacancy captures storefronts, malls, parks, highways, and billboards across America. Existing now in states of transition, they largely appear deserted, and lifeless. Saville gives no explanation as to why these spaces are empty; there is no history or backstory to any of them. Instead, there is only a sense that this place exists currently empty.
These types of commercial vacancies exist from coast to coast. Though the majority of Saville’s photographs were shot in the two coastal cities of New York and Los Angeles, smaller cities like Columbus, Ohio, and Jersey City, New Jersey, also appear in the series. An empty JC Penney department store in Columbus offers square cushion-covered seats to those who wander in and discover that their store has been shuttered. I did a quick Google search for JC Penney stores in Columbus, however, and three locations popped up. What happened to this one? We’ll never know the answer because Saville does not give any additional information — perhaps that’s not even necessary.
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