Michael Danner Projects

Blue Suburban Skies 1998-2000
[PDF]

We all have our visions of suburbia. For many, this vision is utopian; for many others, it is a vision of hell. How can a place provoke such strong feelings? Like utopia, like hell, does suburbia exist at all, or is it simply an idea, rather than an ideal?

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Blue Suburban Skies 1998-2000
[PDF]

We all have our visions of suburbia. For many, this vision is utopian; for many others, it is a vision of hell. How can a place provoke such strong feelings? Like utopia, like hell, does suburbia exist at all, or is it simply an idea, rather than an ideal?

The city has been one of the most important influences upon the thinking, and the art, of the twentieth century, and for most, the city has been exclusively urban. This is a mistake, a short-sightedness which this exhibition and its events will explore. Blue Suburban Skies will allow important American work from the 1960s and 1970s to create an historical context for contemporary work by artists based in Britain, such as Nathan Coley or Nigel Shafran. Rather than the bland homogeneity with which we might associate suburbia, the work in this exhibition will show it as a much more complex place, a place of repressed conflict, of quiet disturbance.

Suburbia is a place of contradictions. It is an essential part of the city and an escape from it. It is familiar although it may not be instantly recognisable. It is ubiquitous and, perhaps as a result, almost invisible. It is safe yet prone to vicious outbursts; predictable, yet never entirely free of the unknown. It is the place of the family, and so also a home for disaffected youth, the neatly tended lawns and ponds the spawning grounds for punk and teenage rebellion. The lawnmower and The Jam, squeaky chamois and the Sex Pistols; these are the sounds of the suburbs.

Jeremy Millar,
artist and curator living in Whitstable, England, 1999