Dogan Arslanoglu Bhakti Baxter Justin Cooper Giles Neale Gustavo Oviedo Johnny Robles Johnny Laderer Rachel Rossin George Sanchez Calderon
When we say “leisure,” we mean “quality of life.” We mean BBQs and sports—relaxation, because Everybody’s working for the weekend. After WWII, when the American economy boomed, tract housing erupted in sprawls of demi-castles, each with its very own back yard. At the same time, the beginning of the twentieth century saw work-week hours reduced from 60.1 to 47 hours per week. The world of work is intimately linked to our time for contemplation and observation; and for an appreciation of the psychology of space.
Today, however, Americans work more than any other industrialized nation. We enjoy far less leisure time.
Situationist International identified leisure in a capitalist society as illusory; not free time, but rather a commodity sold back to the individual. Compartmentalizing lives is a farce. Constant work, society is convinced, creates to more time for leisure.
Time available for leisure varies from one society to the next, although anthropologists have found that early man and hunter-gatherer societies had significantly more leisure time than people in more complex (modern) societies. Europeans on arrival to America saw natives as lazy. Today American society has taken it one step further with increasingly less time for leisure than their European counterparts.
In many ways, the backyard and leisure go hand-in-hand to the point of interchangeability.
Functioning as spaces for more personalized and often kitschy expressions of an idealized paradise, the manicured façade for the world in the front yard occasions private expression in the backyard, or, as they say: “Business in the front, party in the back.”
Backyard Paradise presents artists whose lives and work seem to blend seamlessly. Whatever their passions or interpretations of leisure may be, their efforts to live life holistically are reflected herein. Their work examines the relationship between the backyard and everything that might appear on a postcard: sailing, reading, gardening, fishing, BBQing, surfing, golfing, swimming, sunbathing, playing tennis, or swinging in a hammock. “You visit; we live it!”
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