TOURISMS: SUITCASE STUDIES

Installation

Minneapolis, MN

1991

One of the most popular forms of tourism in the U.S. is travel to the national past. With such a short history, the American public savors every detail, particularly with the aura of a place—to stand on the site where the general fell, to occupy the space of the boyhood bed of the 16th president. Fifty identical Samsonite suitcases transport the contents of the exhibition and double as display cases for these contents. Each suitcase is a case study of a particular tourist attraction in each of the fifty states in the U.S. Each looks critically at official and unofficial images and texts. Only two types of sites are studied: famous beds and famous battlefields, two sites in which the subtlety of tourism’s construction of aura most strongly feeds the hunger for the real, no matter the degree of artifice required to produce it. Exhibited also at the Wexner Art Center, the List Center for the Visual Arts, the FRAC Basse-Normandie, and the Whitney Museum of Art.

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