Danny Singer’s exhibition at the Denver Art Museum, “Standing Still,” on view through May 22, presents a series of 11 images of main streets in prairie towns stretching from Central Canada to Texas. The photographer refers to the images as “paper movies,” which “evoke the feeling of driving slowly down Main Street, taking things in a little at a time,” the museum said in a statement about the exhibition. Singer primarily displays his images as hundred-inch panoramas that allow viewers to take in and examine sections of small towns in places like Saskatchewan, Alberta and North Dakota during all seasons.
In Singer’s images, which he’s made since 1999 in places that are often close to major interstate highways, we see old motels and storefronts, some sitting empty. There are reliable pickup trucks, water towers, trash collectors, white-haired ladies and other local people going about their lives, and a dog or two running around like they own the place. In a few of the images, the towns appear abandoned at first glance, before signs of life—an American flag flying on a flag pole, for instance—reveal themselves. It’s fun to wonder what the citizens of these small towns think of the fact that pictures of their communities are hanging in an art museum, being scrutinized by urban art enthusiasts. It’s also hard to imagine they’d be inclined to hang photographs of major city blocks up on the wall to examine. —Conor Risch