Kim Triedman, Brian Hoffman, LVF//LVX
Local arts organization, Art in Suburbia, is pleased to announce new partnership with some of Waltham’s favourites, including the Lincoln Arts Project, Monique Rancourt, Brothers Marketplace, and ID Art Graphics Shop. The LAP venue, located on 289 Moody Street in Waltham has since been run as an art gallery, which is also home to Monique Rancourt Artisan Gallery, The Telephone Museum, and others. Monique Rancourt Artisan Gallery offers a variety of handcrafted goods, ranging from jewelry and clothes to woodworking and ceramics.
On August 16th, Art in Suburbia commemorated exciting new partnerships with the opening of their upcoming exhibition 'V I N T A G E.’ Centrally focused on the 1950s, it raises the question as to why this era is so romanticized in popular culture. Opening Reception was held Thursday Aug 16, 2018 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm. Catering for the opening reception was provided by Brothers Marketplace- Waltham.
Why are the 1950s so Romanticized? Art in Suburbia, a Waltham-based nonprofit arts organization, is tackling this question with the use of art and poetry at their new pop-up exhibition on Moody Street, on Thursday, Aug 16, 2018.
‘The 1950s are often portrayed as the ‘Golden Age’ of America”, states Linda Ferrer, Executive Director of Art in Suburbia and Curator of the exhibition, V I N T A G E. But while certain aspects of our country might have been strong and flourishing, this was not the case for all areas of political and psycho-social progress. Romanticizing the era has led many people to think wistfully about the time, but questions remain about whether these ideals are grounded in reality or are merely a fantastic dream.
While on the surface there seems to be plenty of great things about the 1950s, the time period was not as perfect as people might want to believe. Hollywood, Broadway, and the media in general have romanticized this era, and have pushed us to think only of the excitement of fast cars and rock n’ roll, the warm feeling of community and country coming together, and the innocence of home and abstinence with a strong focus on Judeo-Christian values. A large influence in the 1950s was the importance we gave to television and the propaganda that came with it. The end of World War II paved the way for a “new dawn,” and although stepping into a new Cold War brought out a sense of nationalistic pride, the 1950s also were terrifying because of the constant threat of nuclear war. While the Cold War was a very frightening time, it also increased America’s nationalism. This confrontation with the Soviet Union gave Americans a common enemy, and the media's portrayal of communism as “evil” was its justification. America was the country of freedom, and freedom from such evils deepened the status quo of the 1950s.
Another important aspect of the 1950s was the championing of the family unit. The sexual revolution hadn’t occurred yet, and family life centered around stay-at-home moms and working dads was still seen as a goal that all women should strive for. Although women now had the right to vote, they were paid far less than men, expected to marry and become homemakers with few employment opportunities to pursue outside of the home. Statistics today convey a harder pill to swallow, showing that divorce rates, use of prescription medications, and autism in children are at an all time high today in age. "Despite popular opinion," Linda argues, "one must objectively ask what, if any, is the correlation from our modern day culture shift."
Communities and neighborhoods were also closer than ever before, and people seemed to socialize without fearing their neighbors. The modest house with a white picket fence became the “picturesque” dream of all Americans. Suburbia was at its prime. This sense of togetherness is something that has since been lost due to increasing urbanization and fear of rising immigration in the 20th and 21st century.
The Civil Rights Movement itself began in 1955 with Rosa Parks, and although much was accomplished, African Americans were still treated unfairly and were later pushed into terrible standards of living that took off only after the 1950s. Segregation and racial discrimination was a pressing social issue that seems to be emerging once again, taking a new form today through rhetoric and social media.
"Does nostalgia ignite our need to return to such a time? Or is it something deeper?"
While many of our movies and media sources serve to romanticize the 1950s’ sense of home, nationalism, and unity, the reality is that we can never truly know what it was like unless we, ourselves, lived it.
The Opening Reception will be hosted at the Lincoln Arts Project Gallery at 289 Moody Street, Waltham, MA 02453 on Thursday August 16, 2018 from 6:00pm until 9:00pm. Participating artists include Kim Triedman, Brian Hoffman, and LVF//LVX. The event is free to attend, with refreshments provided in part by Brothers Marketplace- Waltham, in partnership with Monique Rancourt Artisan Gallery, and with the support of ID Art Graphics Shop.
Thursday, August 16th was the opening reception of the new exhibition, V I N T A G E, held by Art in Suburbia at The Lincoln Arts Project on Moody Street. The new pop up exhibition, curated by Executive Director, Linda Ferrer, showcases the 1950’s and raises the question as to why the 1950s are so romanticized. The special event was catered by local partner, Brothers Marketplace, and was strongly supported by the local community.
Greeting you at the entrance was a selection of fine wine and a variety of cheeses, crackers and wraps. As you walked through the space, the works of art were perfectly paired with the song selection— a mix of 1950s classics with some modernized versions to set the mood of the complicated history of that era, ranging from restrictive gender norms to the anxiety of the Cold War. In attendance were all three showcased artists, Kim Triedman, Brian Hoffman, and Linda Ferrer, who discussed their works and the theme with visitors.
Each artist had their own distinctive style and message conveyed by their works, depicting predominant themes related to this era. Kim Triedman had several mixed media collages made on reclaimed windows that combined original and found vintage photography and acrylic brushwork. The old wooden windows “serve as frame and substantial view,” as Kim puts it. Through this technique, the viewer is allowed to peer into the past. Some of her works included women depicted in a playful manner and a dream like state, illustrating classic gender roles played by women in the stereotypical manner of the 1950s.
Brian Hoffman’s work is based on digital collage and print. His illustrations incorporate Cold War influences, given a modern twist with pop and consumer culture propaganda.“My work tends to wink at those underlying concepts, daily tensions and slight militarism at times, but also possessing a light-hearted, eye-catching and entertaining, ...playfully subversive juxtaposition,” explains Brian. Works such as “Into the Belly of the Beast” and “Old School Method” use classic cartoon characters such as Little LuLu and the homemaker in Tom and Jerry that are unique icons of that era. Three of Brian’s works were purchased during the evening.
Lastly, LVF//LVX created the Vintage Records series specifically for this exhibition. Using original photography and found images and materials, LVF//LVX collages work directly on classic 1950s vinyl records, still with record intact. Some of the works titled “Irreversible/ Gender Roles”, “Steady Decline”, and “First Women Seeks Power” echoes social stereotypes and ideas that were once the norm, but are challenged by today’s standards and status quo. The works employed symbolism as well as actual statistics to reference the increased rates of divorce, prescription medications usage, and autism. Her work challenges the viewer, as well as passing social pushes, asking ‘what exactly did we miss?’
Towards the end of the evening, participating artist and poet Kim Triedman read some of the poetry that influences her art. She discussed how her art and verse are intertwined and shape her life, and how the 1950s greatly influence her work. Kim’s poetry resonated through the gallery and was the perfect end of a thought-provoking evening.
The exhibition, Vintage, was perfectly curated to set the 1950s in dynamic contrast with today. The artists’ works engage both the good and the challenging aspects of the period. The exhibition didn’t just show stunning works of art but also sparked real discussions, encouraging patrons to question what they have been told and raising the bar for other galleries to bring more education into art galleries.