Utilizing photography, film, video, audio, writing, and drawing, Matthew Buckingham’s work questions the role that social memory plays in contemporary life. Canal Street, Canal No. 2 is a photo-collage that the artist created in relation to a mass-produced postcard that was originally shown in a site-specific exhibition on Canal Street, in New York City. (The postcard was sold by vendors on Canal Street alongside ordinary postcards usually sold to tourists.) Canal Street takes its name from a small drainage ditch that replaced a natural stream in lower Manhattan in the late 18th century. Prior to that transformation, a proposal was made to convert the stream into a shipping canal and the area into a commercial harbor. The postcard, instead of providing New York City visitors with a souvenir view of Canal Street as it is, helps viewers imagine an alternative past, implicitly asking if it is possible to be nostalgic for something that never was.

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Matthew Buckingham, American, born 1963
Canal Street Canal, No. 2
Chromogenic print collage
Image: 3 15/16 × 6 in. (10 × 15.2 cm) Sheet: 3 15/16 × 6 in. (10 × 15.2 cm) Mount: 13 3/16 × 11 1/8 in. (33.5 × 28.3 cm)
Credit Line

Museum purchase funded by Judy Nyquist, Carey C. Shuart, and Cynthia Toles

Current Location
Not on view
Accession Number
Collage & Montage

Artist, New York City, 2002; Murray Guy Gallery, New York City, 2002; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, 2012