P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center presents a group exhibition that examines the representation of America through the English perspective of British curator David Thorp. This English perspective, as manifested through American landscape, cinema, literature, and art, is defined as a generalization and idealization of American identity and history. Showcasing people, places, and things who are appreciably non-European such as Yellowstone park, Hollywood stereotypes and the indigenous flower and fauna of the United States, Wide Open Spaces deliberately exoticises America and provides an alternative discourse about "difference" and "otherness" by treating the center, or the United States, as if it were "other."
The exhibition includes works by Ansel Adams, Robert Adams, LA Huffman, Walker Evans, and members of the American Society of Botanical Artists. It also includes works by Sherrie Levine, Phillip Buehler, and Cindy Sherman, which extend the show's references into the dialectic of art. Questioning the purpose and nature of representation as an enterprise that purports to offer a cohesive and truthful description of a place or set of circumstances these works encapsulate the exhibition's thesis. The inclusion of these works subtly and powerfully confronts the legitimacy of the European perspective by challenging the historical references and context even within the exhibition, thus allowing the show to subvert itself.
Wide Open Spaces is curated by David Thorp, Curator of Contemporary Projects at The Henry Moore Foundation.