The exhibition features more than forty works created by thirty-two artists who live and work in the United States and who use different media, such as painting, photography, graphics, sculpture, installation and video. The exhibition reinterprets the meaning of the word “Americana”, playing with the ideas of patriotism and positivism, concepts that have always been associated with its definition, while offering a more ambiguous and complex meaning.
All of the pieces in the exhibition come from the DEPART Foundation collection and most of them are recent acquisitions. The show will bring together the work of artists from different generations who pursue various poetic and stylistic expressions: Uri Aran, Darren Bader, Aaron Bobrow, Joe Bradley, Nick Darmstaedter, Tom Burr, Louis Eisner, Roe Ethridge, Sam Falls, Mark Flood, Elias Hansen, John Henderson, Mike Kelley, Brendan Lynch, Takeshi Murata, Carter Mull, Oscar Murillo, Mitzi Pederson, Trevor Paglen, Seth Price, Rob Pruitt, Jon Rafman, Stephen G. Rhodes, Amanda Ross-Ho, Sterling Ruby, Edward Ruscha, Lucien Smith, Valerie Snobeck, Frances Stark, Mateo Tannatt and Oscar Tuazon.
The term “Americana” refers to manufactured objects, or a set of artifacts, that belong or relate to the cultural heritage, history, geography and folklore of the United States. Many types of materials fall under the definition of “Americana”: paintings, prints and drawings, license plates or entire vehicles, household items, utensils and weapons, statues, and so on. Patriotism and nostalgia are predominant themes. Often the term is used to describe the subject of a museum or collection, or property for sale.
“The title of the exhibition itself presents a twofold interpretation; on the one hand ‘An’ could be read grammatically as the indefinite article that in this sense represents a non-specific typology of the noun “Americana”, or, read as a privative prefix, the sense of the word would change to become a negation of itself” – Vincenzo de Bellis explains – “The works on display, reveal a tendency of contemporary artists to relate their works to history as well as to artistic and social traditions of the United States, indicating a more complex interpretation as well as a kind of distancing that underlines the critical and controversial aspects of a diverse and extraordinary country”.
The exhibition is displayed throughout the American Academy in Rome and the pieces are arranged according to their formal and conceptual similarities.
A catalogue published by NERO will accompany the exhibition. The publication includes a text by Vincenzo de Bellis, Peter Benson Miller, Fionn Meade, Jordan Wolfson, and photographs of the exhibited work.
(photos by R. Provinciali)