Suburban Escape: The Art of California Sprawl

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Overview

Suburbia has occupied a conflicted place in American life since the end of World War II, when the edges of cities across the nation began rapidly transforming into small metropolises of their own. California was at the heart of that boom, and in Suburban Escape Ann M. Wolfe offers a compelling look at the history and culture of California sprawl through art, from the 1950s to the present.

Suburban Escape presents the work of more than fifty renowned artists who use painting, photography, sculpture, and other media to examine the changes that suburbia has wrought on the physical,  political, and social environments of California. The generic blandness of tract-home architecture, the negative—and positive—environmental impacts of suburban land-use patterns, and suburbs’ ever-changing cultural and ethnic demographics become fuel for the artistic imaginations of Ansel Adams and Robert Adams, Jeff Brouws and Fandra Chang, David Hockney and Ed Ruscha, Joel Sternfeld and Lewis Baltz, Laurie Brown and Larry Sultan, Richard Misrach and Camilo José Vergara, and dozens more.

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Editorial Reviews

Wave Magazine

"This is no one-sided anti-development screed. It's clear that the artists hold complex and differing viewpoints, ranging from Todd Hido's seemingly fond misty, voyeuristic photographs of welcoming, inner-lit houses to Lewis Baltz's cool black-and-white images of new homes that look almost Mondrian-like in their linear starkness."

— Traci Vogel

San Francisco Magazine

"Neither vilified nor venerated, these artists' suburbia is, beguilingly and bedevilingly, a site of ambivalence."

— Pamela Feinsilber

Metropolis Magazine

"Though none of them can be said to celebrate the subdivision, these paintings, photographs ,and installations make it clear that the changing landscape has provided fertile ground for artmaking."

— Karen E. Steen

OC Weekly

“Yet even as it seethes, Suburban Escape: The Art of California Sprawl finds a ruinous beauty in the sterile sameness so many of us call home.”--OC Weekly

 

 

— Theo Douglas

San Francisco Bay Guardian

"Suburban Escape manages to address numerous social and cultural concerns. . . . Adds a welcome layer of social context to architecturally insignificant structures."

— Glen Helfand

Wave Magazine - Traci Vogel

"This is no one-sided anti-development screed. It's clear that the artists hold complex and differing viewpoints, ranging from Todd Hido's seemingly fond misty, voyeuristic photographs of welcoming, inner-lit houses to Lewis Baltz's cool black-and-white images of new homes that look almost Mondrian-like in their linear starkness."
San Francisco Magazine - Pamela Feinsilber

"Neither vilified nor venerated, these artists' suburbia is, beguilingly and bedevilingly, a site of ambivalence."
Metropolis Magazine - Karen E. Steen

"Though none of them can be said to celebrate the subdivision, these paintings, photographs ,and installations make it clear that the changing landscape has provided fertile ground for artmaking."
OC Weekly - Theo Douglas

“Yet even as it seethes, Suburban Escape: The Art of California Sprawl finds a ruinous beauty in the sterile sameness so many of us call home.”--OC Weekly
 
 
San Francisco Bay Guardian - Glen Helfand

"Suburban Escape manages to address numerous social and cultural concerns. . . . Adds a welcome layer of social context to architecturally insignificant structures."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781930066533
  • Publisher: Columbia College Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 11/15/2006
  • Pages: 132
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Ann M. Wolfe is curator of Exhibitions and Collections at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno. She previously served as an assistant curator at the San Jose Museum of Art, where she curated Sandow Birk’s Divine Comedy and coauthored with Lindsey M. Wylie Selections: The San Jose Museum of Art Permanent Collection.

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