The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Ofra Lapid’s Broken Buildings


‘Process in art has always been a discussion, whether or not its an interesting discussion is a different story. New York-based Israeli Ofra Lapid has a fascinating process behind her series Broken Houses, which explores the concept of scale and illusion by creating incredibly detailed small scale models based on photographs of abandoned buildings she culled from the web. The series focuses on structures that have been neglected by their human counterparts and have fallen victim to weather and decay. They include crumbling miniature houses and neglected barns, some merely dilapidated, others completely collapsed.

‘”I was very intrigued by these images in both the plastic level, their shapes and structure,” Lapid says, “as well as in their subject matter, the idea of a typical house structure wearing down.” Just as the photographers of the original images were moved to capture, and thereby arrest, the decomposing process, Lapid was inspired to rebuild and preserve the buildings before their total collapse.

‘Creating these scale models involves building three dimensional panels, attaching the original photograph to each panel and then assembling the panels using tiny wooden “beams” to keep areas of the newly invented structure upright, creating a 3-D effect. She then photographs them again in front of a gray background. The sculptures are all sized around 12 x 14 inches. In several cases, the houses appear to be plucked straight out of their origins and transported to a photography studio. The end result is an array of stunning photographs, which feature homes that are sun bleached, with crumbling bricks, broken windows and doors hanging from the shingle.

‘On the use of web-based images, Lapid believes it gives her the freedom to appreciate its image and context “namely, the story behind it, the subject matter. I enjoy manipulating the original photograph: erase; cut, copy, and paste; print; create crafty models; build something broken; create an illusion; change the meaning; emphasize something from the past; photograph a photograph; enlarge something that is very small; meet new people; discover remote parts of the world; be in many places at once; humanize the computer; settle conflicts.”‘ — collaged


The artist



An abandoned home fire & collapse, 800 block of Pavone, Benton Harbor

Abandoned house being swallowed by the sea

Dramatic house collapse

The Real Monster House

Mt Airy Twin Arch Rd House Fire with Collapse

home video captures a building collapse with people still in it in Russia

Apartment building collapse



Ofra Lapid’s Website
Ofra Lapid @ Facebook
100 dilapidated houses
Residents want dilapidated house in West Deer torn down
Eerie images of abandoned farm houses where even the beds are still made
Planning committee discusses dilapidated houses in Ithaca
Flickr: Dilapidated Houses Group
The worlds most dilapidated houses
The Pease House
NO QUICK FIX: Dilapidated houses
Dilapidated house disgusts, frustrates neighbors
Abandoned Houses: One Block in Detroit
Dilapidated House Escape Game






p.s. Hey. There’s a new and quite thoughtful review of ‘Permanent Green Light’ if you’re interested. Here. ** gregoryedwin, Oh, hey, pal! How great to see you! Thanks so much about the post. The Pink is super good, no surprise there. How are you? Are you working on a new novel and/or other writing projects, I hope? All the very best! ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. ‘Quick Question’ is John’s second to last book, came out maybe 6 years or so ago. It’s, of course, fantastic. Well, yes, ‘Raised by Hand Puppets’ must be published, and STAT sounds good. How are you pursuing that? ** Kyler, Hi. The wine of morningness. Well, I certainly do want to read that short story, and I will as soon as I finish some imminently awaited work. Cool. Everyone, The mighty Kyler has a new short story up and readable at a site called The Holy Male. It’s, in his words, ‘about my cult experience when I was 26.’ Pretty tempting, no? Wait no longer. Find that which you seek here. ** Tosh Berman, Yeah, I too am sad about that being the last Animal Shelter. Great print lit/art journals/zines are very few and far between nowadays. Incredible issue/way to go out, though. ** Bill, Hi. Both of those books you now crave are very stellar. Yeah, the hack was weird, and I hate having to now think about watching the blog’s back. Great that you’ll see ‘Crowd’! If nothing else you’ll get to hear a lot of great 90s techno and trance tracks, if you like such things. ** Sypha, Hi. I forgot if I said that I told Bret when I saw him in LA that the blog was about to republish your ‘AP’ post, which he had already seen the first time around, and his eyes widened, and a thin smile flashed across his lips, and he said, ‘He scares me’. Geez, eek, about that possible overgrowth. Will meds take care of that? But excellent news about the chapbook! I love chapbooks. I miss when they were regulars. ‘Stupid Baby’ kind of qualifies. ** Jamie, Jamie, buddy boy! I’ve missed you, don’t you know! Man, I can’t believe your health is being such a tiresome prick to you. If I ever run into your health in a dark alley somewhere, I’m going to whip out my trusty switchblade and extract a promise of utter, non-stop future cuddliness re: you in return for sparing its very being. Anyway, you’re back, and, yes, hopefully for a long while. I’m good, busy, the usual, I guess. Ideally, we’ll have the entire TV script finished and sent off to ARTE by the beginning of next week. At that point, Zac and I will nosedive back into the film script and polish it off. The Pinks are terrific. Yes, let’s gas. I haven’t heard that term used so pleasantly in a while. Does anyone still say, ‘Life’s a gas’, or anyone under the age of, like, 60? What are you up to, my friend? Love like a pink elephant, Dennis. ** Steve Erickson, Yes, I saw that Stephanie Gray has a new thing out. I need to get it by some means. I don’t remember ‘The Guardians’ causing very much fuss or buzz or anything. It just seemed to be released, do its thing, and fade out. No one I know ever mentioned it. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi. Yeah, Philip Best is becoming a total renaissance man. I remember you talking about Limmy. Thank you for the link because I have been curious to see what his what is. Sounds most promising. ** Misanthrope, I’m back, you’re back, the world is post-precarious tilt. Oh, nice. Envy always re: people who get to live in Japan. I don’t know where the hack came from. I suppose logic says the blog was targeted, but I can’t figure out why, and I don’t know shit. Pretty sure the ‘Avengers’ is a future plane thing for me. I can’t drum up any passion for it. Fiction does go off the rails sometimes, that’s for sure. It’s good. It means you’re being ambitious. ** H, Hi. Thank you, I’ll tell him. I hope your off-blog diligence has a great pay off. Good to see you! ** JM, Hi. There was a link in the post to where you can buy ‘Stupid Baby’. Oh, shit, my eyes and/or brain malfunctioned. Sorry for the bizarre digression into Whitman bashing, although I’m happy to know it did not fall on deaf ears. That does sounds extremely complicated to enact, and exciting to imagine receiving, need I say. A performative ‘Pale Fire’, now that’s an idea. My brain just got beautifully scrambled. How interesting that they produced Tom Waits’s ‘Alice’. That’s pretty amazing. I don’t believe I’ve ever been anywhere where that has happened. That’s nuts. Your place is a happening place. Wow. I know that the court decision on whether ‘Don Quixote’ will be the closing film at Cannes this year is happening today, and that Gilliam suffered a minor stroke yesterday but is okay. Fingers crossed about today then. You ordered ‘Stupid Baby’, cool. Except for the cost, of course. Yeah, I have an apartment in LA packed with tons and tons of books that basically just get dusted like table tops these days. ** Okay. Today I request your kind attention to the cool works of artist Ofra Lapid. Do you have room in those big noggins of yours for her? I hope so. See you tomorrow.


  1. I tried to read the complete Whitman last year and got maybe 1/4 of the way before giving up. Boring. Boring. Boring. I mean, the other gutsy Gilliam news is that Amazon pulled from distributing the film so uhh even if it gets its Cannes premiere we might not see it???? Germany I think produces Tom Waits’ Alice relatively frequently, so if you’re ever over there….

    On the broken building note, there’s a much less immaculately constructed (than those in the post) abandoned house near where I am that I once saw a piano recital done in the middle of. It was totally bizarre, the estate is owned by foreign investors or something and for some reason just left to fall into ruin???


  2. Hey Dennis!
    Let’s gas.
    I think ‘Life’s a gas’ is a great phrase and should be forcibly revived.
    How could I not love these broken buildings? They’re lovely and such attention to detail. The semi-detached with one side missing is the one I’ve stared at for longest. I think you’d enjoy the slow demolition of a big office block that’s taking place round the back from where I work. There’s other buildings really close so they’re having to almost manually bring it down, so every time I see it there’s another big hole in it or chunk missing. Btw, I really really liked the Dina Kelberman day too. I spent part of yesterday trying to rip her off!
    Ta for the good health wishes and I’m glad to know you’ve got a trusty switchblade. I’m getting an MRI at the end of the month and my consultant seems pretty certain that that’s going to help get to the bottom of things.
    Great that you’re going to have all three episode of the TV thing written so soon. How are you feeling about it? Does it have a title? Have I missed that? All my creative projects fell by the wayside but are beginning to reignite one by one. I don’t know if you remember I was planning a web-series with one of Hannah’s sisters? We met up at the weekend and did some planning and I think it’s going to something quite good.
    I’m afraid my powers of gassing dwindle pretty fast atm, so I’ll bid you a very fond farewell.
    Hope your Thursday’s like a 24 hour candyfloss.
    Love like an arrow from Green Arrow’s quiver.

  3. David Ehrenstein

    May 9, 2018 at 3:09 pm

    “Broken Buildings” are quite beautiful

    Marvelous PGL review. I suspected “Le Diable Probablement” was your model.

    I’ve just started asking around re “Raised By Hand Puppets.” I don’t have a literary agent and need one. Each of my previous books was set up differently. My agent for “Open Secret” was Ally Sheedy’s mother. She’s no longer in the business. If you know anyone who is PLEASE let me know.

    Great piece on Denham Fouts,

  4. Chris Cochrane

    May 9, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    Saw the theater, with Ish, Michael Stiller, old lighting guy and PS crew yesterday. It’ all going to and will happen. Like the space, the right size I think. Listening to ton’s of loud music lately on my way to work. I’m sure people are like, who is that old grandpa guy over there listening in head phones and gesticulating. Space City Kicks – Getting Going , great great song. Great review of PGL. Nayland is on the cover of Art in America this month, pretty awesome photo and thoughtful, fairly comprehensive article. the weather is beautiful here. see you soon

  5. Hey Dennis. Great post, houses have always been abit of an obsession of mine. The exterior vesus interior, shelter / insulation, the facade versus the private world. These warped models are great. I feel reconnected with an old interest of mine.

  6. Ofra Lapid’s “Broken Buildings is a fascinating work, as well as a great blog for today. My reaction to that work is personal, in that I witnessed our family home being smashed into tiny pieces by a massive mudslide. And on a brighter note, I also think of Buster Keaton’s great film “One Week” where he makes a pre-fab home, but does it all wrong. Nevertheless, a great introduction to Lapid’s work. Thanks!

  7. Dennis, you did mention running into Ellis in L.A. but no, you didn’t mention that comment of his to me. So, I scare Bret Easton Ellis? That thought fills me with an almost perverse sense of delight, ha ha. I’ve actually been kicking around the idea of doing an exhaustive compendium of all the characters in his books (both major and minor), almost like a kind of “dictionary of characters” or something along those lines, though needless to say, that would be a big undertaking!

    Yeah, well, I certainly don’t mind reading chapbooks because one can get through them so easily… in any event mine will be called THE MUSE (though I’m also considering calling it THE MAN WHO MURDERED HIS MUSE, though I’m not sure if that latter title is too corny). It’s set in a small and unnamed college town in modern times. The main narrator, Hamsa Cauldron, is a black college student (and aspiring writer) who is making money on the side tending bar at the local Goth club. One night she meets a most unusual man, a once famous writer who has fallen on hard times, who tells her his equally unusual life story. A few months later she encounters this writer again, under much different circumstances, and this second encounter leads her to find out some things about herself that she never expected she was capable of doing.

    Bacterial overgrowth in the intestines is usually treated with antibiotics and also sometimes probiotics. It has a tendency to reoccur/relapse, though.

  8. Hi!

    Thank you so much for this post! Ofra Lapid is creating some amazing things!

    Oh, I’m very sorry to hear about Zac’s grandmother. Obviously, that’s a priority now.
    My absolute pleasure – about Charity Kase! (And what an awesome name, really!) I’m glad you like her/her work too! I’m really impressed with what she’s doing.
    Your yesterday sounds like the perfect day to me: meeting important friends, buying books then going home and actually reading them too, right away. Especially books like these, especially-especially the John Ashbery one, ah!
    My waist miraculously seems to be improving instead of getting worse after Monday’s ordeals so I’m very happy! I can move like an actual, normal person now, haha. Yesterday was a bit too long, with the session and everything, but it was useful and kind of empowering, so it was worth it in the end. And today… today was just another workday. I need to find some kind of a balance between work and all the other things I want to do, especially writing, because by the time I get home, I’m usually too tired to do anything worthy and this daily eat-travel-work-travel-sleep routine is already getting too monotone and pointless.
    How was your day? How is Zac? Did you work some on Episode #3?

    Congratulations on the ‘PGL’ review!!

  9. Hey Dennis – Nice to be introduced to these broken buildings. Compelling work.

    Catching up with yesterday’s post, I was glad to see that final issue of Animal Shelter included among the riches. I was really proud to have a story included there, probably the darkest thing I’ve written, an extreme variant from ‘Mira.’

    Been enjoying the new Sam Pink — and need to track down the Lasky and New Juche.

    Have you read the new Harry Matthews yet? Just got a copy and comes with a blurb from Ashbery calling it his finest novel. Looks intriguing, to say the least.

    On the sculptural assemblage front, I have a small studio at this local DIY warehouse arts center. I’m turning it into an installation space so I can learn more about how to create installations, how to charge a space with various sculptures I create mostly from found objects. The first installation is starting to come together. I’ll share some photos when it all clicks into place.

    Appreciated your comments about Sarah Charlesworth. Maybe she’s a good candidate for a post?

  10. I know Ofra Lapid’s work must be a success because I feel a definite pang of art envy when I see it.

    There’s a lot of Yuck ‘n Yum work to be done now that Morgan and Alex have returned from Seattle. We defo have to set up a YNY PayPal account so that all these piles of compendiums can make their way out into the world.

  11. Derek McCormack

    May 10, 2018 at 2:34 am

    Wow, what a day! Thanks for it! Love, Derek

  12. Dennis, For the record, Sypha scares me too. Not really. But that was pretty funny. I wish you’d told Bret, “You don’t know the half of it. You better be VERY scared.” 😛

    I like these a lot. I like miniature things like this. I’d like to live in some of them.

    Yeah, with that bit, I just started writing and when I finished for the day…I’m like, What the fuck is this? Hahaha. It happens. I just need to tighten it up more than anything. Still kind of funny to me because I’m pretty sure I’ve never written anything and then thought I needed a major rewrite/tightening of it. It feels good, weirdly.

  13. Scaring Bret seems like an accomplishment, although I suspect he was fearing something out of Eminem’s “Stan,” not that I think Sypha acts like that.

    I was disappointed by the new Paul Schrader film, where he proves himself to be the world’s biggest DIARY OF A COUNTRY PRIEST fanboy but this doesn’t help him to make a film that’s nearly as good, especially since he also retreads and tries to update his TAXI DRIVER script at the same time.

    I have to simultaneously write reviews of the forthcoming Snail Mail and serpentwithfeet albums. The latter is going very easily; it’s a musical UFO that’s really distinctive and doesn’t sound like any other artists out there. Snail Mail are a pretty good indie rock band, but they fit into an obvious lineage of jangly pop from early REM to Liz Phair to Waxahacheee and I don’t find them particularly inspiring. I’ve only been able to write 200 words on their album so far, while I think I can finish an 800-word serpentwithfeet review tomorrow.

    • Also, an actor contacted me on FB chat asking if I would be interested in reviewing a film he’s in that opens in July in the U.S. He sent me a link to the minute-long trailer on YouTube. It looked like a bad stereotype of a sleazy and misogynist horror film: his character does nothing but tie up and stab women. Plus, I think that real serial killers don’t actually search out the largest pair of horn-rimmed glasses available on the market and then wear a white shirt and tie all the time, unless they’re going to a REVENGE OF THE NERDS-themed Halloween party.

  14. Love the collapsing buildings today, Dennis.

    I just discovered the work of Jiri Barta. A bit like Svankmajer with more modern imagery. Do you know his work?


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