Suburban malaise has proven to be rich fodder in contemporary literature--in Rick Moody’s Ice Storm, Richard Yates’s Revolutionary Road, and Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones, to name a few. Rarely has an artist taken up the theme to the extent that Ian Strange has. For his ongoing series, “Suburban,” the Brooklyn based Australian artist spent two years traveling the United States. In Ohio, Michigan, New Jersey, Alabama, New Hampshire and New York, he painted, burned and documented each intervention he made to expose the vulnerabilities of the American Dream and the ongoing economic failures it has brought on. [View images]
Last year in Poland, Strange was commissioned by the Cultural Institute of the city of Katowie to transform a decrepit residential building in response to the city’s history and its decline following the collapse of its mining industry. Through his practice of exploring the meaning of “home,” in his suburban intervention series, Strange discovered a local preference for a particular golden, floral wallpaper. Over a period of three weeks, he and his team applied 6,400 square feet of the gleaming wallpaper to the building’s exterior, and titled the work Zloty, the Polish word for “golden” and the name of the country’s currency.
At the end of the one-year contract between the art commission and the owner of the house, the building was put up for sale, still adorned with Strange’s artwork. In the sales listing, the artwork forms a major part of the home’s value, including the photographs of the home advertised being those Strange used to document his installation, once again proving the value of art in the real estate market.
Photos © Ian Strange | Visit the artist's website here