DON’T STOP, Wasserman Projects (web link here), Detroit, Michigan
Living in both Paris and New York, I have been lucky to experience the cultures of Europe and America with the perspective of an outsider. When I am in Paris, I see life there as an American who was born in Detroit and has lived for 40 years in New York. Back in the States, I look through the lens of the last 15 years of living more in Paris than in New York.
The digitally produced works in this series, DON’T STOP, developed out of a desire to reconcile two important differences between life in the two countries. France, the oldest country in Europe, has had kings in charge for most of its existence. Even though it became a republic after the French Revolution, its culture is steeped in its royal origins. Life in France is marked by class, highly developed codes of behavior, easy sensuality, significant state art patronage, refined taste, and strong federal government.
In contrast Americans regard class difference with skepticism if not denial, and privilege as nothing more than a lucky break. In the US we feel we can become anybody we want unhindered by our family’s past, our race or personal history or gender. State support of the arts is deemed a luxury we can’t afford. And finally government in America is a constant battle between State and Federal positions.
I tried to mash up these differences in my series, DON’T STOP. Fifteen large glossy pictures set democratic American pleasure-taking–DISCO!–against princely French refinement.
Ken Aptekar, 2013