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The Goat, 1989

"... North America is a dream for places of the (banal and spooky) kind. Or a nightmare, if you take a closer look. It's a strange, lonely garage that Wall has chosen as a setting for his scene The Goat (in the sense of a scapegoat) which depicts four boys threatening a fifth with a punishment he can't escape.


Objects, interiors, buildings and landscapes which are not part of urban planning - not yet absorbed or already abandoned - were described by John Brinckerhoff Jackson, an American writer and instructor, as "vernacular". He pointed out that the word, deriving from the Latin root meaning "native, domestic", denotes a common or indigenous language. Jackson, however, uses it to refer to anything from patched-up cars, to houses built in the absence of architects, to what he called the "commercial vernacular" - meaning the uncontrolled industrial growth of a boundless civilization ..."

Excerpt from the article "Crooked Paths" by Ulf Erdmann-Ziegler, concerning the works of Jeff Wall and the tradition of American vernacular photography.