February 4, 2011 / 11:28 AM / in 7 years

Exhibitions: The American Dream in the barrel of a gun

<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>

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.

<p>Visitors look at photographs in the American Dream exhibition at the German lender DZ Bank's building in Frankfurt, February 3, 2011. REUTERS/Alex Domanski</p>

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.

Slideshow (11 Images)

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.

Further along in the exhibition Dennis Stock’s famous shot of James Dean walking in the rain on Times Square stands in stark contrast to the exhibition’s earlier offerings.

The last photograph visitors to the exhibition see is probably the most unsettling one. Andres Serrano’s subject is simple: the black barrel of a gun, massively magnified and aimed directly at the viewer, creating the uneasy feeling that the American Dream may not always end in success.

The exhibition runs until April 2.

Edited by Paul Casciato

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