Jeremy Bolen’s Borscht Belt project (2007-2009) documents abandoned resorts found mainly in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York and Pennsylvania. Borscht Belt is a vernacular term denoting now-defunct summer resorts in this region that were popular vacation destinations for New York City Jews in the early to mid-twentieth century. Resorts in the Borscht Belt began losing popularity in the 1960s with the increasing availability of air travel. The once-thriving vacation spots are now mostly abandoned and in ruins, becoming symbols of the loss of American idealism and economic deterioration in Bolen’s pensive images. As Bolen states, “It conveys the emotions felt, the desires never met, the desperate search for idealism those environments represented, and the seemingly animate nature of these spaces and people left behind as they slowly begin to mirror their surroundings.”
Jeremy Bolen completed a BA at Columbia College Chicago in 2002. Borscht Belt (formerly titled leftover and leaving) forms part of The Chicago Project on the Catherine Edelman Gallery website, an online gallery showcasing emerging and established photographers in Chicago. Exhibitions include Postcard Trouble, Andrew Rafacz Gallery, Chicago (2010), andLeftover and Leaving: Abandoned Resort Towns, Rainbo Club, Chicago (solo, 2008). Currently, Bolen is a teaching artist for nonprofit arts education programs serving at-risk youth in Chicago, Early Exposures (Chicago Youth Programs) and Marwen Institute.