Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Exhibition: "America it's also our history"


"America it's also our history" is an exhibition about the common history of America and Europe and the three centuries of relations between the two continents. Through the whole exhibition you see how Europe first influenced America, before being itself influenced by Uncle Sam's land. All is a question of 'I love you, neither do I'. The visitor's journey is marked out by a lot of different things to show these relations: frescoes, charts, audiovisual productions, artistic installations, objects and art works. This goes from the simple corn or bean to paintings or ship models. The exhibition is divided in four movements and a prologue.

You first begin with a prologue in which you seel a film editing with all sorts of film clips related to America, from Disney's Snow White to Marilyn Monroe. This introduces you to the world of the American dream. Everything is made to make your mouth water.

The first movement being presented is what they call 'European America'. This includes the period between 1620 and 1783. In this episode you see how Europeans colonized North America. Gradually they took root in the new continent and became American. You have explanations about the 'Journey of the Pilgrim Fathers', the clash between European powers to master the new continent, but you also see how the daily life of the American Indians as well as the life of the slafes that Europeans imported from Africa are organised. This part results in the American Revolution.

The second movement, 'American America' from 1783 to 1917, shows how America turned away from Europe at the same time that European culture, science and technology continued to inspire it. In this period America wanted to be the master of his territory, but it built itself through the European immigration. In this part of the exhibition, you see for example that the Statue of Liberty, symbol of America today, was a gift of the French in 1886.

The third movement is called 'American Europe'. In the period from 1917 to 1989 the American came back to Europe and influenced our continent in its turn. Twice in half a century, the Americans rushed to rescue Europe which was in difficulty. In the 1920s a lot of Americans went to Paris which was the world capital of the Roaring Twenties. Conversely, in the period when Hitler was in power, a lot of European Jewish artists but also scholars, writers or musicians flew from Europe to Uncle Sam to escape the German dictator. After the episode of the Second World War and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Europe got Americanized, fascinated by the GI's and Hollywood. They discovered the American Way of Life.

The last movement 'Europe and America' shows how it is from 1989 onwards. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, America is the only super power in the world. They were the only winner of the "game" which was the war. Europe lost a lot of things in the war, but it has now single currency and tries to be unified.

What I really found interesting is that they are things for everyone: from the child to the paintings lover. You can play chess on a computer, with questions related to the exhibition; there are comic strips so that children can understand more easily, games about Disney and so forth and so on.

The exhibition is really worthwhile. I would recommend it to everyone. If you want to see this exhibition it is still possible. The exhibition is organized by the Museum of Europe and it takes place until 9th May 2011 in Tours & Taxis in Brussels.

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