Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Mary Snowden: Levittown

Painting on panel
Collection of the Nevada Museum of Art, Gift of the artist

Levittown, New York, a tract-home development built upon 1,200 acres of potato fields in 1947, has long been considered the quintessential postwar American suburb.
While similar subdivisions were constructed in hundreds of thousands of towns and cities across America, Levittown remains a meaningful reference for contemporary artists commenting on the influence that suburbs have had on the American psyche.

Mary Snowden nostalgically recalls the postwar era in her painting Levittown, which features an American GI and his aproned wife parachuting to their new life of domestic bliss. An anonymous landscape of single-family detached houses stretches long into the horizon. These mass-produced houses functioned as more than basic shelters for veterans and their families; they also became status symbols that embodied conventional domesticity, the nuclear family, and homeownership— all of which became inextricably linked to the American Dream.