Austrian Show Explores the Politics of Landscapes in American Art

Are landscapes political or a-political? And how do they affect a country’s culture and mentality? In its new show “HyperAmerica. Landscape—Image—Reality,” the Kunsthaus Graz in Austria revisits American landscapes in painting and photography from the second half of the 20th century to illustrate an interesting hypothesis: “that a special kind of interaction with the land has developed in America since the 19th century that differs starkly from the equivalent notion in Europe,” as curators Peter Pakesch and Katja Huemer explain in the catalog.

“As a result of the ‘Manifest Destiny’ of the nation, [the depiction of landscape] was given a different ideological twist to that in Europe, ” the authors argue, “America was depicted once again as

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