The American Lawn: Surface of Everyday Life reveals the lawn as a domestic symbol, civic showplace, economic force, and national icon. Bungalows in tract developments, suburban corporate headquarters, and the White House are all alike in that they sit behind a lawn: a carefully contrived patch of “nature” that lies open to the sky and to a multitude of uses and meanings.
Among the objects and documents displayed in the exhibition are Space Age lawnmowers, lawn ornaments, stereoscopic photographs of the “border crossings” between lawns, excerpts from the cinema of the lawn (such as Blue Velvet), vintage television footage of protests on the Washington Mall, sports shoes with high-tech cleats and patented grass.
The American Lawn is the fifth and final exhibition in the exhibition series The American Century, which seeks to cast a fresh eye on critical aspects of modern America’s architectural culture – its promises and disappointments, its roots and offshoots, its unparalleled worldwide impact.
Curators: Beatriz Colomina, Elizabeth Diller, Alessandra Ponte, Georges Teyssot, and Mark Wigley, Princeton University; Ricardo Scofidio, Cooper Union School of Architecture; with Mark Wasiuta, Princeton University.
Exhibition design: Diller + Scofidio, Architects, New York.