Exhibitions: The American Dream in the barrel of a gun

Fri Feb 4, 2011 7:14am EST
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By Kerstin Leitel and Martin Zwiebelberg

FRANKFURT (Reuters Life!) - The American Dream can be found almost anywhere - on the sunny highways of California, in the buzzing streets of New York City, by a comforting fireplace -- or in a glass and concrete high-rise in Germany.

Twenty-two international artists have interpreted the American Dream in photographs exhibited in German lender DZ Bank's building, nestled in the heart of Frankfurt's financial district.

After climbing a steep white staircase, visitors to the exhibition -- which opened on January 26 -- are met by the works of celebrated artists such as Robert Mapplethorpe, Robert Rauschenberg and Taryn Simon.

The eye is immediately drawn to the oversized, hyperrealistic photographs by Simon, whose provocative project "The Innocents" showcases men released from death row thanks to advances in DNA profiling.

A black man on a red carpet at a tarmac-grey street corner is the first of the American artist's stunning three-dimensional pictures.

On the opposite wall, Andrew Moore's architectural shots depict the decline of Detroit.

The first, an office once occupied by legendary carmaker Henry Ford: brown wood paneling, an open door, and a floor covered entirely by vivid green moss.

The second, a huge room with a ceiling that could have come from a Russian tsar's palace -- is now no more than a shabby parking lot with an abandoned basketball hoop.   Continued...

<p>A visitor looks at photographs in the American Dream exhibition at the German lender DZ Bank's building in Frankfurt, February 3, 2011. EUTERS/Alex Domanski</p>