For Immediate Release
"Broken Windows Theory"
Opening February 26, 2010

For Kantor Gallery's Chelsea window space, artist Farrah Karapetian installs a unique chromogenic photogram entitled "Broken Windows Theory" that uses the window frame of the façade as its negative. Karapetian's installation throws a gridded shadow over photographic paper; the resulting print lines the floor and back wall of the gallery space. The gallery windows, though, in Karapetian's imagination, have been broken by rioters.  The image recorded on the photogram reflects this cracked, glassy surface as much as it reflects the structure of the door and windows. Viewers standing outside the space are then confronted with an image of an alternative present: Looking in through the panes of real glass, they see the shadow of unrest as it registers in photographic space.  The piece questions the stability between exterior and interior space, while exploring disconnects between perceptions of time and perceptions of social reality. The title of the piece derives from the theory by the same name developed in 1982 by social scientists at Rutgers and Harvard Universities to explain both how disorder spreads and how it is sustained; the idea behind the broken windows theory is that if people observe others violating norms, they will tend to violate them as well.

Farrah Karapetian's work frequently concerns moments of crisis as they register in architectural space, from the marks of unrest transcribed on the Western panels of the Berlin Wall to the charged space of shadows burnt into walls at Hiroshima. She works with photography in a sculptural field.  Two formal strains dominate her work: sculpture in the field of light and shadow, as well as photography in the field of space, form, and plasticity. Her process tendentiously results in images and forms that are, in the words of LA Times critic Leah Ollman, "more like a metaphor than a record." The artist has exhibited with Sandroni.Rey in Los Angeles and at the Centre d'Art Contemporain, Parc Saint-Léger, France, among other locations, and recently completed a residency with the Wende Museum and Archive of the Cold War in Los Angeles. She has taught photography at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and serves on the board of Superfront, a bi-coastal organization formed to support, promote, and produce radically contemporary architecture, while fostering creative interdisciplinary exchange.