Published on the occasion of Anamericana – the big group exhibition held in October 2013 at the American Academy in Rome, curated by Vincenzo de Bellis and promoted by the DEPART Foundation – the book explores, through texts and images, the idea that despite the variety of practices in today’s America, many artists are constantly working around themes delving into the habits and traditions central to contemporary American society.
The title itself plays with the meaning of the word “Americana”, which usually 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. The term is often used to describe the subject of a museum or collection, or property for sale.
The book collects texts by the curator of the exhibition Vincenzo de Bellis and the American writer and curator Fionn Meade, plus a visual essay by the artist Jordan Wolfson, and features more than forty works from the DEPART Foundation collection, bringing together artists from different generations working in various poetic and stylistic modes of expression and different media: painting, photography, graphics, sculpture, installation and video.
The compound word AN-AMERICANA is deliberately ambiguous: on the one hand “An” can be read grammatically as an indefinite article that in this sense refers to a non-specific typology of the noun “Americana”. Alternatively, if “An” is read as a privative prefix, it negates the word that follows it. The works on display here reveal the tendency of contemporary artists to relate their works to history, as well as to the artistic and social traditions of the United States, while, at the same time maintaining a critical distance from them, underling in the process the controversial aspects of an extraordinarily complex country.
Format: 17,5 x 24,8 cm
Edition of 500 copies
Texts by: Peter Benson Miller, Vincenzo de Bellis, Fionn Meade
Published by NERO and DEPART