Review: America in Crisis at the American Museum, Bath: Violence, race hatred, murder and poverty are the headline images in this exhibition in the tranquil and peaceful setting of the grounds of the Claverton museum.
But also disarming images of normal everyday life in the United States over the last 60 years gathered originally for an exhibition in London’s Saatchi Gallery but now in Bath until 4 July 2023.
It’s an eye-opening set of images – some in black and white, some blurred due to the immediacy of the incident captured but mainly brilliantly framed photographs that capture a moment in time of families, demonstrations and people in their natural settings.
America in Crisis explores social changes reportage style through the lens of 39 photographers in the exhibition gallery near the cafe. It is brilliantly curated with captions to explain the contexts and notes on the photographers and it pays to take time in working your way round from the assassination of President Kennedy to the Insurrection of January 6th.
The other America is vividly revealed of poor families living under an urban underpass or crowded commuters on a railway station, or intimate domestic scenes a world away from the American dream.
The exhibition was originally a Magnum Photos project, created in 1969 to assess the state of the nation which it does – with the lasting impression that the world’s richest and more powerful country has deep social problems with its roots in its troubled past.
Think the legacy of slavery and civil rights but also how their political system works or rather doesn’t serve every one. It sparks thoughts on injustice, reform and democracy.
At £14 a ticket and £9 for children it’s a big hit – but you do get the main museum as well plus those gardens and views. Check the website for full details: https://americanmuseum.org/
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