Ellen Harvey - The Disappointed Tourist Shop (Luna Park), 2019

Postcards, postcard holders. Courtesy the artist and Meessen De Clercq Gallery.

The Disappointed Tourist Shop

Postcards, postcard holders, 2019

Courtesy the artist & Meessen de Clercq Gallery

We live in a world that often feels as though it is vanishing before our eyes: war, time, ideology, greed and disaster are constantly threatening and remaking beloved places that we cannot control or save.  


In The Disappointed Tourist Shop at Witley Court, visitors can help themselves to postcards reproducing an on-going series of paintings depicting lost sites. The medium of the postcard itself, like the postcard shop, is threatened by increasing obsolescence; their disappearance mirroring the larger losses our world is confronted with.


The twenty-four sites depicted in the postcards are the first in what will be a series of several hundred paintings that New York based artist Ellen Harvey is working on continuously. They are a combination of famous lost sites and more intimate ones suggested by the public at Witley Court. This creates a level playing field in which personal and larger cultural losses can meet and be recognized.  


The paintings make symbolic restitution, literally remaking lost sites while acknowledging the often-toxic nostalgia that results from our collective and individual losses.

Ellen Harvey

Ellen Harvey's work investigates context, exploring areas of failure in art, as well as its successes. Harvey has made interventions into public spaces in her New York Beautification Project (1999-2001) and questioned the viewer's relationship with the aesthetic at Turner Contemporary in Margate (Arcadia, 2011).

Ellen Harvey is a British-born artist living and working in Brooklyn.  She is a 2016 recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship in the Visual Arts and a graduate of the Whitney Independent Study Program.  She has exhibited extensively in the U.S. and internationally and was included in the 2008 Whitney Biennial. Solo exhibitions include Metal Painting at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, The Unloved at the Groeninge Museum in Bruges, Belgium, The Alien’s Guide to the Ruins of Washington DC at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington DC, The Nudist Museum at the Bass Museum in Miami Beach, Ruins are More Beautiful at the Center for Contemporary Art in Warsaw, Poland, Mirror at the Pennsylvania Academy in Philadelphia and A Whitney for the Whitney at Philip Morris at the Whitney Museum at Altria in New York. 

She has completed numerous commissions, including Arcadia for the opening exhibition of the Turner Contemporary in Margate, UK and permanent public works for New York Percent for Art, New York Arts in Transit, the Chicago Transit Authority, the Philadelphia International Airport, the Federal Art in Architecture program and the Flemish National Architect.  Her Belgian project Repeat, won the Wivina Demeester Prize for Commissioned Public Art in 2016.  She is currently working on Atlantis, a new permanent installation commissioned for the renovation of the Miami Beach Convention Center.  Her work has been the subject of several books including New York Beautification Project, published by G. R. Miller & Co. in 2005, Mirror, published by the Pennsylvania Academy in 2006, Ellen Harvey: The Unloved, published by Hannibal in 2014 and Ellen Harvey: Museum of Failure, published by G. R. Miller & Co. in 2015. 

Related Exhibitions