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Readymades: American Roadside Artifacts

Brouws, Jeff

Code: 2449

ISBN: 9780811836777

Publisher: Chronicle Books

New Hardcover

Price: £7.5

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Photographer Jeff Brouws has spent the past twenty years crisscrossing America searching for beauty amid the commonplace. This album is a small, fat catalog of a quintessential Everyday America: partially painted pickup trucks, dilapidated bowling alley signs, lonely trailers and mobile homes, abandoned drive-in theaters and filling stations, and houses painted in loud tropical hues in defiance of suburban monotony. Brouws defines his black and white and color subjects as readymade art found by chance in the landscape. Essays by Diana Gaston, Luc Sante, and others consider Brouws as an artist and also his various series. From Publishers Weekly 'Partially Painted Pickup Trucks, Storage Units, Abandoned Drive-Ins, Bowling -in captionless photographic chapters, this long, postcard-shaped book is a clean visual meditation on the United States as man-made artifact. Brouws (Inside the Live Reptile Tent), whose photographs are in the collections of the Whitney and the J. Paul Getty museums, has traveled the country riffing on simple roadside themes, uniting them here under Duchamp's post-modernist aegis. While far from Duchamp's spirallingly ironic meditations on formalism, Brouws's photos do form a subtle meditation on time and culture. Two pages of freight cars seem nearly identical except for the amount of rust on each. A chapter called Freshly Painted Houses offers beautiful images of houses above paint chips with names like serenity and tawny taffy. Luc Sante (Low Life) sets up Abandoned Drive-Ins, and M. Mark (a founder of the Village Voice Literary Supplement) tells of her own experiences with Farm Forms. There is an homage to Ed Ruscha's gas stations, introduced by Brouws, who says that the gas station was his first true `hang out,' a place to feel my coming manhood and be in the company of men who were good with their minds and hands. As curator Diana Gaston (Abelardo Morell and the Camera Eye) writes in her introduction, there is a fondness for the unabashed attempts at survival that [Brouws] finds in these remote places -and his pleasure in collecting them is apparent throughout the book.-- finds in these remote places -and his pleasure in collecting them is apparent throughout the book. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. From Booklist Walker Evans made worn surfaces and abandoned structures express a nation profoundly stressed by the Depression. Later, city lensers Helen Leavitt and Aaron Siskind homed in on peeling posters and paint, graffiti, and the marks of children's games--she to lyricize the human spirit, he to disclose found abstract expressionist artworks. Brouws produces galleries, in color and black and white, of abandoned drive-in theaters, bowling alleys, automobile trailers, and gas stations; worn boxcars and farm buildings; words and images on storefronts and signs; and half-painted pickup trucks, brilliantly repainted tract houses, and rental storage units. Like Michael P. Harker in Harker's Barns [BKL Mr 15 03], Brouws captures a fading material culture, but his evenly lit, confrontational pictures of big, simple forms aren't in the least elegiac. Instead, they show the kind of delight in form and perspective that makes the paintings and photos of the superrealist American response to cubism known as precisionism so appealing. Adding to their attraction are superb layout and accompanying essays almost as good as the pictures. Ray Olson Copyright © American Library Association. Hardcover: 272 pages Publisher: Chronicle Books (February 1, 2003) Language: English ISBN-10: 0811836770 ISBN-13: 978-0811836777 Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.8 x 1.1 inches Shipping Weight: 1.2 Kg