As a socio-cultural symbol of American consumption and lack of imagination on how and where to spend one’s free time, I love them. But actual malls? I have always hated them. The last time I stepped foot into a shopping mall was 1989. I have never been sure if it was the closed-in, windowless space, the notorious, chemical-laden recirculated “mall air”, the lack of anything natural (no, the potted trees were never enough to trick my brain), the crowds, the insanity of parking, or something else entirely, but even when they were wildly popular (during those pre-online shopping days) I resisted going unless it was absolutely necessary.
And I was not the only one to have issues with shopping malls. I had a friend who started having full-blown panic attacks every time he entered a mall. It took him five very public episodes and two doctor visits before he put together what was triggering them and started avoiding malls.
But now that online shopping is all the rage and the popularity of malls is slowly dying out in the U.S. there is significant value in artifacts that depict what was once an important part of U.S. culture–especially that time in which malls not only served as an early morning exercise arena for seniors and weekend hangout for teenagers, but an actual form of entertainment (replete with junk food) for the American family unit.
Back in 2011 Michael Galinsky had the foresight to create a photo-book comprised of shots he took inside some U.S. malls. Now out of print,”Malls Across America” sells for upwards of $1000 a copy at some book dealers/collectors sites.
But don’t be sad. Galinsky is now kickstarting a sequel to “Malls Across America” called, “The Decline of Mall Civilization”. The hardcover book is $44, with delivery planned before Christmas 2019. It’s $70 for two, and there are signed art prints of some of the interior art available at higher pledge levels (source).
According to the Kickstarter page that Galinsky has set up to raise funding for the book (though better now in the digital age, photography books are still wickedly expensive to produce), The Decline of Mall Civilization contains 112 pages of new pictures from 1989.
Go here to check out the Kickstarter info and make a pledge to get your copy:
And here are some articles about U.S. shopping malls you may find of interest: