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Books & Magazines May, 3 2011

“American Studies” by Jim Dow

Jim Dow’s American Studies presents a vision of America at once familiar and foreign; a country constantly reinventing itself visually, both discarding and preserving elements of its past, in a relentless, unplanned process of change. In “American Studies”, Dow gives us unpeopled spaces, each resonating with a unique and telling history. A landscape, for Dow, is fashioned by ordinary individuals leaving their mark on their surroundings through everyday acts, unconscious of the enduring effect these changes have on our world. Our signs and billboards, barbershops, office buildings, libraries, pool halls, private clubs, courthouses, and motels—these places belong to a world made primarily by and for American men, and are naturally imbued with that identity.

Jim Dow studied graphic design and photography at the Rhode Island School of Design during the 1960s. From that time forward he has been the recipient of numerous commissions, fellowships, and grants that have allowed him to travel and photograph as well as exhibit and publish extensively. His subjects include folk art, roadside architecture, signs, county courthouses, baseball parks, soccer stadiums, private clubs, barbeque joints, and taco trucks. He is fascinated by the way people leave their mark on both the rural and urban landscape and seeks to preserve this through photography.He lives in Boston and teaches at Tufts University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts.

All photography from American Studies by Jim Dow, published by powerHouse Books.

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