What would you do to obtain the American dream? The motivation could be the promise of working hard equals amazing rewards to those who fight for their goals and aspirations. This is where artist Andrea Bowers enters the discussion. According to Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight, Ms. Bowers’s art can “speak in smart, blunt and compelling terms about a fundamental trait of American experience. The progressive promise of a better life, especially for the next generation, has been central to myth and reality from the arrival of the Mayflower to the slogan of hope that drove the last presidential campaign.”
Bowers explores this concept at Susan Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects through July 31st. In one of her pieces titled No Olividado (Not Forgotten), according to the gallery’s press release: “The piece acts as a memorial honoring those who have died crossing the Mexican/American border. Unlike most memorials, this is an incomplete list and will always remain that way no matter how many names are added or collected. So many people that have died migrating to the U.S. from Mexico over the years will never be identified.” No Olivado is an art piece that contains 23 graphite drawings measuring 50″ x 120″ each. The sheer scale and presence creates a world blurring dreams and reality. The piece is haunting and delivers a hard blow of truth for some.
The definition of the American dream is unique to its citizens. However, I can’t help to wonder what it means in a global sense. From the outside looking in, how badly would someone want my American experience? Apparently enough to lose one’s life and hopefully not forgotten.