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Bill Owens: Suburbia at SMoCA

05.17.14 - 09.07.14

Bill Owens’s Suburbia (1973) is a series of strange and compelling photographs that reveal the complexities of the American middle-class landscape. Utilizing a straightforward and direct photographic style, Owens documented the customs, symbols and social dynamics of various Northern California housing developments. With an eye for humor, he confirmed assumptions of its perceived banality, uniformity and careless comfort, but tempered them with empathetic attention to the unexpected beauty, uniqueness and anxieties that are equally part of suburban life. Accompanying quotations from the individuals in the images describe the opportunities and challenges of everyday life in their new environments. Pairing a seemingly objective visual style with subjective statements of lived experiences he pinpointed the tensions that exist at the intersection of the American dream and reality. 

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Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
7374 E. Second St
Scottsdale, AZ