The American Story by Dallas Seitz is an exhibition of new photography, video and object works that address the Cold War, ideas of God, isolation, and the concept of mutually assured destruction.
In 1959 Charles and Ray Eames exhibited Glimpses of the USA, a seven-screen film experience designed to tell “the American Story” to visitors of the American exhibition in Sokoolniki Park, Moscow. Glimpses of the USA described, in fragments, a romanticised vision of the US as it neared the height of the Cold War. Searching for fragments of his own American story, Seitz sifts through locations from his past, visiting the Californian desert, Arizona and Palm Springs to uncover what he refers to as “accidental sculptures” of both the Cold War and its cultural resonances.
The work in the exhibition explores urgent themes of how a global clash of cultures entangles itself into revisited objects, locations and their memories. Amongst the missiles there are oddities and curios that are no less significant: a meteorite; a telephone tower disguised as a palm tree; fragments of Forever Marilyn, Seward Johnson’s 26-foot-tall statue of Marilyn Monroe being disassembled in preparation to be shipped to New Jersey.
The American Story presents Seitz’s disassembling and reassembling of carefully chosen symbols, and of his very personal narrative and fondness for America in spite of the complexity of its historical relationship to arms and self-preservation. He says, “I am often out in the desert for days and when I find those things, there is a love in there and a sadness. The work to me is about finding belief.”
Dallas Seitz (b. 1972, Alberta, Canada) studied an MA at Chelsea College of Art and Design, London. He has exhibited in the UK and abroad including Castlefield Gallery, Manchester; Freud Museum, London; Pump House Gallery, London; The Agency Gallery, London and The Photographers Gallery, London. His work can be found in collections including the Saatchi Collection and the Zabludowicz Collection among others. He was the Co-founder and Director of 1,000,000 mph Project Space from 2001 – 2007 and was awarded the Pillar of Strathmore Memorial Plaque for achievement in 2014. He is currently Associate Lecturer in BA Photography at the London College of Communication and the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London.