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Indepth Arts News:

"I Love the ’Burbs: Modern Day Suburban Life"
2006-10-15 until 2006-04-09
Katonah Museum of Art
Katonah, NY, USA United States of America

“For the first time in history, the majority of American citizens live in the suburbs,” writes curator Ellen Keiter in her catalogue essay for the exhibition I Love the ’Burbs, which opens at the Katonah Museum of Art on January 15, 2006. A multimedia exhibition I Love the ’Burbs explores how this major demographic shift in American culture, economics, lifestyle and politics is expressed in works by contemporary artists. Paintings, photographs, sculpture and video presentations created by Mark Bennett, Jason Falchook, Todd Hido, David Hockney, Bill Owens, Joel Sternfeld, Larry Sultan, and Lane Twitchell, among others, delve into the myths and realities of modern day suburban life.

“Vistors to I Love the ’Burbs will have an opportunity to view exciting, contemporary art about the suburbs in a frankly suburban setting,” says Executive Director Neil Watson. “The majority of works in this exhibition have been created by young, living artists who are grappling with issues and conditions that can be encountered in suburbs across the country. As people travel to and from the Museum they will find themselves navigating through communities and situations that are at the core of the works featured in I Love the ’Burbs. I guarantee that this exhibition will get visitors thinking in new ways about the nature of the American suburb.”

The exhibition is divided into two sections: Private Realms presents works that examine the icons of suburban life - the home, the lawn, and the family; Public Reality addresses the communal character of suburbia: the automobile, the neighborhood and unbridled sprawl. “Popular media and the arts have traditionally portrayed the suburbs as a two-dimensional reality: either as the utopian land of fulfilled American dreams or as an alienating black hole of materialism, monotony, and perversity,” notes Keiter. For I Love the ’Burbs, Keiter has chosen not to perpetuate either stereotype, selecting instead works that present a rich and nuanced tapestry which “take a more honest and critical look at the complexity of suburban life and, in the process, help us to better understand the places where we live.”

I Love the ’Burbs is scheduled to coincide with the social history exhibition Westchester: The American Suburb at the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers, NY, and has created an opportunity for several area cultural organizations to collaborate on programming. The Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, NY will present Celluloid Suburbia, a suburbia-themed film series and the Westchester Arts Council in White Plains, NY will exhibit A Field Guide to Sprawl, a selection of aerial photographs by Jim Wark. A brochure containing a detailed schedule of the programs, films, lectures, panel discussions, and family events will be available at each of these organizations and will be distributed to subscribers to The Journal News on the weekend of January 22. To celebrate this collaboration, the brochure will included a pass that entitles visitors to free admission or a member discount at each location. 

Funding for I Love the ’Burbs was provided by Julia B. Fee Real Estate, the New York Council for the Arts; the Basic Support Grant of the Westchester Arts Council with funds from Westchester County Government; and the Exhibition Patrons of the Katonah Museum of Art.

Untitled (House), 2003.
Oil on linen, 47x59"
Courtesy DFN Gallery and the artist

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