Franklin Street Works Exhibit Explores Dissatisfaction With Pursuit of the American Dream

Stamford, CT - A new Franklin Street Works exhibition explores dissatisfaction with the pursuit of the American Dream. “I hear it everywhere I go” is on view September 16, 2017 through January 7, 2017

Curated by Franklin Street Works' creative director, Terri C Smith, the exhibition includes sculptures, texts, installations, and videos from 1995 to the present. It is on view September 16, 2017 through January 7, 2018 and features a free, mid-show reception and artist walkthrough on Saturday, November 11, 5:00-8:00 pm. Exhibiting artists are: Alex Bag, Michael Blake, Nayland Blake, Jen DeNike, Jonah Freeman & Justin Lowe, Rashid Johnson, Adam McEwen, Rodney McMillian, Tameka Norris, Cheryl Pope, Mikel Rouse, and Melissa Vandenberg.

The show's curatorial premise was inspired by artist Cady Noland’s (b. 1956) writings on and statements about American life. During her career in the 1980s and 90s, Noland explored the American tendency to vent violent impulses through socially acceptable release valves such as figuratively "trashing" celebrities on the one hand and conning or preying on populations outside of dominant power structures – often in the name of entrepreneurship – on the other.

The artists in "I hear it everywhere I go" exponentially expand on and add to the show's themes with strategies that include: performed fictions that resituate celebrity and commodity culture; collaborative text pieces that give institutionally marginalized voices visibility; pop culture appropriations exploring the isolation of fame; the mining of distinctly American signifiers like varsity sports and daytime TV talk shows; and juxtapositions of post-consumer objects and mass-produced materials that read on multiple levels and often indicate how people’s race, class, gender, and sexuality can position them in a simultaneous state of hypervisibility and invisibility in American culture.

“‘I hear it everywhere I go’ aspires, emotes, dreams, mourns, carps, and converses about identities, highlighting ways expectations can be colored by unconscious efforts to acquire the perceived successes of the American Dream,” Smith says.

Informed by the timeline of Noland's career and the accompanying trajectory of ‘identity politics’ in contemporary art, Smith curates an intergenerational show that brings together artists of diverse histories, perspectives, and backgrounds. Their work expands on the notion of disillusionment with the American Dream and resonates to varying degrees with Critic Peter Schjeldahl's description of Noland as "the dark poet of the National Unconscious."


Franklin Street Works is a not-for- profit contemporary art space and café whose mission is to manifest contemporary art in a professional and welcoming setting. Franklin Street Works aims to broaden community participation in the arts, contribute to a larger arts dialogue, and cultivate emerging artists. To date, the organization has exhibited the work of more than 350 artists, curated 27 original exhibitions, and organized approximately 130 programs, including talks, tours, and performances. Their work has received national and regional support, including two multi-year grants from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts as well as regional grants from Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, Connecticut Office of the Arts, New Canaan Community Foundation, among others. Exhibitions have been recognized with positive reviews in major publications such as Artforum online, Art in America (online), Art Papers, Modern Painters, The Huffington Post, Hyperallergic, Bomb blog, Art New England.


Franklin Street Works is located at 41 Franklin Street in downtown Stamford, Connecticut, near the UCONN campus and less than one hour from New York City via Metro North. Franklin Street Works is approximately one mile (a 15 minute walk) from the Stamford train station. On street parking is available on Franklin Street (metered until 7 pm except on Sunday), and paid parking is available nearby in a lot on Franklin Street and in the Summer Street Garage (100 Summer Street), behind Target. Hours: Café: Tues-Fri, 10am – 5pm; Sat/Sun, 9am – 5pm. Gallery: Tues – Sun, 12pm – 5pm.


Franklin Street Works has a temporary ramp for accessing our gallery. Please call the main landline during gallery hours 203-595-5211 or call Creative Director Terri Smith's cell 203-253-0404 or email terri@franklinstreetworks. for any access requests. The ramp is in the back entrance is up a curb, across approximately 4 feet of mulch from the next door parking lot which is accessible from the sidewalk. Once inside there is an elevator and bathrooms are large and clear but do not have access bars. Franklin Street Works is in the final stages of planning  to install a permanent ADA compliant ramp.


This exhibition is sponsored in part by Aquarion Water Company, the City of Stamford Community Arts Partnership Program, Connecticut Office of the Arts, and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.


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