||The New Heartland: Looking for the American Dream
by Andrew Borowiec
with essays by David Giffels and Eric Paddock
A new landmark book of photography offers a fresh, razor-sharp view of contemporary American culture!
In many ways, Ohio is America's quintessential heartland state, for what happens in Ohio happens throughout the United States. Ohio has been a bellwether swing state for the winning candidate in every presidential election since 1944 except one. It's also the place where fast-food companies test-market new products and the place where chewing gum, Teflon, and the first cash register, vacuum cleaner, airplane, traffic signal, and gas-powered automobile were invented. Even the state's Division of Travel and Tourism has relied on "Ohio, the Heart of It All" as its popular motto since the Reagan years to attract visitors to the state.
Yet everything shifted after the 2004 presidential election, when political scientists and journalists looked more closely at the election results: Ohio was changing, just as America was changing. Big differences were noted between voters who lived in the cities and those who lived around the cities yet aligned with voters in rural areas. Andrew Borowiec, an eminent photographer based in Akron, took notice and headed out with his camera to take a closer look at the electoral map to be found on the ground.
And what he found was astonishing. The once rolling farmlands that used to surround the cities and define Middle America were already giving way to vast suburban housing developments of nearly identical, hastily built mini-mansions with enormous garages and fancy yards. These were the new bedroom communities for long-distance commuters to the cities where there were jobs. And the traditional Main Streets of yore were rapidly being eclipsed by "lifestyle centers": shopping malls filled with national chains whose commercial architecture is a cacophonous blend of multiple periods and styles that somehow blend into a fanciful display in which every detail is reproduced out of extruded foam, all of it designed to evoke an imagined past era of luxurious consumerism. Distinctive architectural and landscape styles of the region had given way to a ubiquitous culture of global marketing in which J. Crew was a more familiar name than James Joyce. Homogenization and conformity had won over the American dream in the new heartland.
Andrew Borowiec's work follow in the tradition of other legendary interpreters of American land and life—among them J. B. Jackson, Walker Evans, Robert Frank, Robert Adams, and the other New Topographics photographers. He has used his keen eye and dedication to field work to give us a fresh, at times humorous, and ever razor-sharp view of what is going on in America today. There is a new heartland, a new American dream, and it can be found in the new residential and commercial landscapes of Ohio, and the rest of America, if we choose to open our eyes and take a look.
$50.00 U.S. (trade discount) for the unsigned edition
$75.00 U.S. (special short discount) for the signed edition
Unsigned Hardcover/PLC; 125 signed Hardcover/PLC with slipcase
100 pages with 67 color photographs by the author
11.875" x 9.875" horizontal/landscape
ISBN: 978–1–938086–19–9 (unsigned)
ISBN: 978–1–938086–20–5 (signed casebound)
Forthcoming Spring 2015
Distributed by Casemate IPM
About the Author and the Essayists
February 7 -May 17, 2015
The Post-Industrial Rust Belt
Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, NE
(read about the exhibition and see images here)
View a selection of photos from The New Heartland: Looking for the American Dream featured on the Politico Magazine web site