The New Heartland

Looking for the American Dream

Andrew Borowiec, David Giffels, Eric Paddock

A new landmark book of photography offers a fresh, razor-sharp view of contemporary American culture!
Date Published :
August 2020
Publisher :
George F Thompson Publishing
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Hardback
ISBN : 9781938086199
Pages : 100
Dimensions : 12 X 10 inches
Stock Status : Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-Order


In many ways, Ohio has become for America the quintessential heartland state, for what happens in Ohio happens over all of the United States. Ohio has been a bellwether swing state for the winning candidate in every presidential election since 1944 except one. It's also the place where fast-food companies test-market new products and the place where chewing gum, Teflon, and the first cash register, first vacuum cleaner, first airplane, first traffic signal, and first gas-powered automobile were invented. You can't get more heartland than that. Even the state's Division of Travel and Tourism has relied on "Ohio, the Heart of It All" as its popular motto since the Reagan years to attract visitors to the state. Yet everything seemed to change after the 2004 presidential election, when political scientists and long-time journalists looked more closely at the election results: Ohio was changing, just as America was changing. Big differences were noted between voters who lived in the cities and those who lived around the cities who aligned with voters from rural areas. Andrew Borowiec, an eminent photographer based in Akron, took notice, and he headed out with his camera to take a closer look at the electoral map on the ground. And what he found was astonishing. The once rolling farmlands that used to surround the cities and define Middle America were rapidly giving way to vast suburban housing developments of nearly identical, hastily built mini-mansions with enormous garages and fancy yards. These were new bedroom communities for long-distance commuters to the cities where there were jobs. And the traditional Main Streets of yore were being eclipsed by "lifestyle centers": shopping malls filled with national chains whose commercial architecture is a cacophonous blend of multiple periods and styles somehow blending into a fanciful display in which every detail is reproduced out of extruded foam and all of it designed to evoke an imagined past era of luxurious consumerism. Distinctive architectural and landscape styles of the region had given way to a ubiquitous culture of global marketing in which J. Crew was a more familiar name than James Joyce. Homogenization and conformity had won over the American dream. In the tradition of other famous interpreters of American land and life---among them J. B. Jackson, Walker Evans, Robert Frank, and the New Topographics photographers---Andrew Borowiec has used his keen eye and dedication to field work to give us a fresh, at times humorous, and ever razor-sharp view of what is going on in America today. There is a new heartland, a new American dream, and it can be found in the new residential and commercial landscapes of Ohio, and the rest of America, if we choose to open our eyes and take a look.

About The Author

Andrew Borowiec was named Distinguished Professor of Art at the University of Akron's Myers School of Art. He has also worked as a photojournalist, as the staff photographer for the International Center of Photography, and as Director of the University of Akron Press. He has received fellowships in photography from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and Ohio Arts Council. In 2006, he was awarded the Cleveland Arts Prize. His photographs of America's changing social, industrial, and post-industrial landscapes have been exhibited around the world and are in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, Cleveland Museum of Art, Library of Congress, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Nelson Adkins Museum of Art, Princeton University Art Museum, and Smithsonian Museum of American Art, among others. His previous books include Along the Ohio (2000), Industrial Perspective: Photographs of the Gulf Coast (2005), and Cleveland: The Flats, the Mill, and the Hills (2008).

DAVID GIFFELS is the author, most recently of, The Hard Way on Purpose: Essays and Dispatches from the Rust Best whose other books include All the Way Home: Building a Family in a Falling-Down House, Wheels of Fortune: The Story of Rubber in Akron, and, with Jade Dellinger, Are We Not Men? We Are DEVO!. A long-time columnist for the Akron Beacon Journal he is now an assistant professor of English at the University of Akron. His essays have appeared in books such as The American Midwest and The Appalachians and in The New York Times Magazine and Wall Street Journal. He was also a writer for the MTV series, Beavis and Butt-Head. His literary awards include the Cleveland Arts Prize for Literature, the Ohioana Book Award, and the Associated Press's "Best News Writer in Ohio" award.

ERIC PADDOCK since 2008, has been Curator of Photography at the Denver Art Museum, where he has organized solo exhibitions by Edward Ranney, Robert Benjamin, Garry Winogrand, Laura Letinsky, and Chuck Forsman, among others. From 1982 to 2008 he was Curator of Photography and Film at the Colorado Historical Society, where he curated more than two dozen exhibitions of seminal historical photographs. He is the author of Belonging to the West, and his photographs are held in the permanent collections of the Amon Carter Museum, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Smithsonian American Art Museum.


"The New Heartland recalls other landmark books in the history of photography. Robert Adams's The New West (1973) leaps to mind, because Borowiec's title echoes that of the earlier book and because both books wrestle with dichotomies: myth and reality, beauty and ugliness, gross social trends and real needs of ordinary people. Together, these two books demonstrate that the issues they address, however specific and local they may seem in the pictures, are as universal as they are persistent... The New Heartland gives us a fresh look at American culture that partakes in an important artistic tradition."

- Eric Paddock, Curator of Photography, Denver Art Museum, and author of Belonging to the West

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