American dream, American nightmare is a two-part display that focuses on one of the Collection’s most iconic and most requested works, Brett Whiteley’s The American dream 1968-1969.

This major, 18 part installation has not been seen at the Gallery since 2004 and it is looking better than ever: the work has recently received major conservation treatment prior to its inclusion in the major survey of Australian and international Pop art Pop to Popism at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Whiteley’s work is a dynamic visual summation of his experiences in America, that charts his initial passion for the place, his intense responses to the politics and culture, and his powerful desire to leave it all behind. It is therefore a meditation on the crumbling of Whiteley own romantic dream of what America might offer him and a reflection on a society torn apart by its involvement in the Vietnam war and the assassinations of John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Martin Luther King.

Image credit: Brett Whiteley, The American dream 1968-69 (detail), oil, tempera, collage, photography and objects on eighteen wooden panels, 244 x 2196 cm, State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Purchased 1978 © State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia

Image: Brett Whiteley The American dream 1968-69 oil, tempera, collage, photography and objects on eighteen wooden panels 244 x 2196 cm State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia Purchased 1978 © State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia

Where

Art Gallery of WA

Perth Cultural Centre (Bounded by Roe Street, Beaufort Street, Francis Street, William Street) Perth WA 6000

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