America Recovered


Actar Publishers, Barcelona & New York


Foreward by Bonnie Honig, with essays
by Jordan H. Carver and Miriam Paeslack
2019. 200 pp., 50 ills.
6.50 x 9 in. / 16.5 x 23.5 cm.
ISBN: English 978-19-45150-93-7

In response to the “Great Recession” of 2008, President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, an $831 billion financial stimulus package. Over $100 billion of those funds were allocated for “shovel ready” infrastructure maintenance and construction projects. Starting with government language as his guide, photographer Chad Ress traveled around the country documenting many of the projects, from the grandiose to the mundane. With Ress’s photographs as an archive of stimulus work, architectural writer Jordan H. Carver analyzes the role of infrastructure in the process of constructing politically active citizens and photography historian Miriam Paeslack places Ress’s photos within the lineage of public works image making and conceptual practices involving image/text combinations. Political theorist Bonnie Honig asks what public things do for us, especially in the years after the crisis. America Recovered, through combinations of found text and created imagery, reveals the point where abstract political and economic processes manifest themselves in the physical world and what that means in terms of political action and aesthetic practice.


Bonnie Honig  - Foreward: The Beauty of Public Things / view text
Jordan H. Carver - From the Infrastructural Sublime to Not Interesting Enough / text
Miriam Paeslack - Taking Stock: Chad Ress’ Photographs of the Recovery Act / text



This book was made possible by a grant from the New York State Council for the Arts (nysca) funding support from the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis, New York University; and research support from the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning.