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Alexis Smith: Same Old Paradise

DATES October 10, 1987 through January 11, 1988
COLLECTIONS Contemporary Art
  • October 10, 1987 Same Old Paradise, a monumental artwork by the contemporary artist Alexis Smith and inspired by Jack Kerouac’s classic 1957 novel On the Road, is on view at The Brooklyn Museum through January 11. The work, created specifically as a Grand Lobby installation, consists of eight collages superimposed on a 20 by 60-foot muslin backdrop and takes its title from the narrator of the book, Sal Paradise, in whose compulsive cross-country travels Kerouac immortalized the restlessness of his generation. The backdrop of the collage is an idealized landscape of California orange groves -- based on the lithographic images used since the 1930s to adorn orange crates -- with allusions to the Garden of Eden. The images in the work are drawn from many sources, including Hollywood advertising, bilibords and the texts of novels by writers John Dos Passos and Raymond Chandler.

    Born in Los Angeles in 1949 and educated at the University of California at Irvine, Smith identifies strongly with California culture in general and the Hollywood myth in particular - - an identification best illustrated by her adoption of the first name Alexis after a movie actress of the 1940s. While her work of the mid-1980s dealt primarily with diverse aspects of womanhood, The Brooklyn Museum installation explores a man’s world.

    The Grand Lobby installations are made possible, in part, by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Additional support for this project has been provided by an anonymous donor.

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1971 - 1988. 1987, 096.
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