American Beauty

31/12/2003


Nothing expresses the American dream of the 50s as well as the fashion model on the threshold of the Eames house or the paradigmatic marriage grasped by the lens of Julius Shulman in the Case Study House 21 by Pierre Koenig. That domestic and innocent prosperity becomes engrossed in Diebenkorn’s painting or in Dan Graham’s photograph, with the figures absorbed in the contemplation of suburban landscapes, and has an ironic, kind echo in the pop pupil of the British Hamilton. The ‘American Beauty’ – a rose with neither scent nor thorns – is the floral symbol of the accommodated, trivial suburbs in the Sam Mendes film that allows Annette Bening to reproduce the cheerful advertisement of the gardening housewife behind picket fences. After all, there is not a great sociological distance between the Truman that goes to work from his traditional house and the father that bids farewell to his wife and daughter in the Dymaxion leaflet: in both homes, the wife takes care of the offspring, as in the ads of Virginian gated communities with ‘old fashioned values’. But the modern optimism of the American Way of Life still resounds in the French Périphériques, and the playful nostalgia of a timeless arcadia in the Dutch MVRDV...[+]


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