Pure Americana

When artists talk about the "American experience," it's hard to say what they really mean anymore. Being American used to mean that you were living a dream of relative financial stability, unmarred by the fear of going hungry. That may no longer be the case. Not that there weren't pockets of the population experiencing a major disparity in wealth even in the glory days of the American dream, but that was more or less glossed over by LIFE Magazine photographs of happy GIs returning from war and beautifully coiffed women posing outside their giant Oldsmobiles. America had an image -- one that didn't include hungry children, scores of unemployed college graduates and GIs with PTSD. Artist Michael Arcieri examines the nostalgia behind these old images and asks us to reevaluate what they truly portrayed in American Album, Volume 1. The exhibition displayed at Kirk Hopper Fine Arts, 3008 Commerce St., interprets these photographs as paintings where things are not always what they seem, and where nostalgia sometimes overtakes reality, further clouding the concept of the American experience. American Album is on view through September 24, Tuesdays through Saturdays from noon until 6 p.m. Admission to the gallery is free. Visit kirkhopperfineart.com.
Tuesdays-Saturdays. Starts: Sept. 10. Continues through Sept. 24, 2011
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Jennifer Davis-Lamm