Matt Lambros’ richly detailed photographs of abandoned theaters are portraits of gaudy decrepitude, a lamentable parade of forgotten architectural glories. The Brooklyn photographer backs up his images with research illuminating the stories behind the buildings and, once in a while, hope that restoration is on the horizon. Ten prints from Lambros’ After the Final Curtain series are on exhibit at the Jean Cocteau Cinema through March 17.
The photos of aged performance and cinema spaces are notable not only for the ghastly state of the buildings’ interiors but also for their amazing architectural details such as the ceiling of Philadelphia’s Uptown Theatre, with its spiky central star figure, and the intricate plasterwork in the Empress Theatre in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood. “The Empress is all carved out,” Lambros told Pasatiempo. “Today the main level is a grocery store, and the upper level is storage for a Hasidic publishing company.” Some of the theaters have seen many uses since their heydays. The century-old Metropolitan Opera House in Philadelphia, for example, has functioned as a sports arena and two churches during recent decades.
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