It is a common belief in the United States that we live in a functionally classless society, where most people belong to one “middle class.” The American Dream of upward mobility for everyone has long enabled the perception that classes do not exist in our nation—or that, if they do exist, they are fluid and easily changeable. Classless Society questions how one might think about class today in the current social and economic context, including the availability (or not) of class mobility and the different ways that class is signaled and understood. Works of contemporary art and materials drawn from popular culture examine the nature of class, the viability of the American Dream, and the reasons why the myth of a classless society persist.
The exhibition includes work by Benny Andrews, Tina Barney, Cris Bruch, James Casebere, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Jim Goldberg, Derrick Jones, Steve Lambert, Nikki S. Lee, Peter Liversidge, Mark Lombardi, Irving Norman, John O’Connor, Michael Patterson-Carver, Doug Rickard, Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson, Ward Shelley, Jason Simon, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, and Carrie Mae Weems.
Classless Society is organized by Janet Casey, Professor of English, Skidmore College; Mehmet Odekon, Professor of Economics, Skidmore College; Rachel Seligman, Assistant Director for Curatorial Affairs, Tang Museum; and John Weber, Founding Director of the Institute of the Arts and Sciences, UC Santa Cruz. The exhibition is supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Friends of the Tang.
Published: March 19th 2012