Johanna Fateman

Aspen Mays

The New Yorker


Taping your windows does more harm than good, hurricane experts warn, yet, for many people, applying “X”s and asterisks to their homes and businesses remains a pre-storm ritual. Mays, who now lives in the Bay Area, grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, a city hit hard by Hurricane Hugo, in 1989, when she was a child, and she now finds a muse in the useless, protective gesture. Memories and mass-media imagery of the storm’s aftermath blur together in her eerie, big photograms, made by enlarging newspaper photos and then replicating, by hand, the taped starburst forms. The dramatic black-and-white suite on view here features the dark arched windows and brick façade of a restaurant named, almost too perfectly, California Dreaming.