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04 Dec 2020

This Is America*

University of Kentucky Art Museum, Singletary Center for the Arts

Reviewed by Saul Ostrow

Portraying the United States of America was once easy. There were a handful of go-to icons that could be brandished like beacons of light in the darkness, or critically mocked, or crudely defaced. Today, the portrayal of the U.S.A. begins with abandoning these idealized and mythic tropes so that the world they once masked may be revealed. What comes to mind is Dorothy pulling aside the curtain to expose the Terrible Oz, who is little more than a con man engineering his own escape. The real heroes of the story are her motley crew of misfits seeking self-improvement.

"This is America*," curated by Stuart Horodner, offers a kaleidoscope view. Like its subject, this exhibition is an aggregate of diverse forms and themes, presented in a more matter-of-fact manner than an accusatory one. Consisting of contemporary and historical works, it stands witness to the persistent social, political, and cultural themes of consumerism, race, and violence that constitute the dreams and the nightmares that are America today.

Exhibition This Is America* link
Start date 06 Oct 2020
End date 13 Feb 2021
Presenter University of Kentucky Art Museum link
Venue Singletary Center for the Arts, 405 Rose Street, Lexington, KY, USA map
Image Jon Henry, Untitled #51, New Orleans, LA from the series Stranger Fruit, 2020, gelatin silver print, courtesy of the artist

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