May 26 to June 18, 2005
Curated by Peter Zellner
Featuring works by:
Joe Deal, John Divola, David Hatcher, Jones, Partners, Ruben
Ochoa, Kelly Poe, Alex Slade, TaalmanKoch Architecture, Darren
Wardle and Amir Zaki
Alex Slade, The
Lake at the Colonies, Upland, CA, 2005, Chromogenic
Courtesy the artist
Can it still be said that the city is still a vital source of
culture in North America? If culture is the condensation and expression
of our collective concerns, is it now arguable that the city is
no longer the only source of our shared imagination?
North American cities were once the hosts of liberal causes that
promoted interaction, diversity and debate. Hardly sites of social
mobilization, let alone inclusion, cities are now vastly overpriced,
more demographically homogeneous and perhaps more culturally adrift
than ever before. Efforts to re-kindle the cosmopolitan glamour
of the City seem to be no match for the undertow that is carrying
social energy to the suburbs.
Empire.Style posits the emergence of another type of cultural
empire. That empire is suburbia- the overwhelmingly residential
condition that seems poised to replace the city as a key economic
and social engine in North America. Admirably, the rise of the
suburban condition can be attributed to its resistance to Culture
and its rejection of what cities have been promoting as Culture.
Suburbia has no desire for more spectacular Guggenheims, MOMAs
or Disney Concert Halls.
Despite their economic and social potential, suburban regions
remain mundane and un-heroic. Suburbs exhibit none of the hallmarks
of urbanity like spectacle, density and symbolic form. What new
cultural styles, motifs or movements can exist in a place with
no downtowns, central parks or walkable boulevards?
invited 10 artists and architects to question if we are indeed
witnessing the end of metropolitan life, or if it is possible
to discover new sources of social and cultural vitality within
emerging suburban areas. In a region that is already so detached
from 20th Century metropolitan values, what kinds of culture will
be produced? What will emanate from this other empire?
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