For the last fifteen years, Gregory Halpern has been photographing in Omaha, Nebraska, steadily compiling a lyrical, if equivocal, response to the American Heartland. Halpern’s series explores notions of cognitive dissonance and unexpected harmonies, playing on a sense of simultaneous repulsion and attraction to the place. The series is ultimately a meditation on America, on the men and boys who inhabit it, and on the mechanics of aggression, inadequacy, and power.
‘Travelling to the nation’s heartland – a vague construct increasingly synonymous with the Bible belt – Halpern continues to mine this idea of Americanness in a place bounded by prairie and steeped in pioneer history. His work in the Midwestern city of Omaha reveals America as pluralised, fragmented, and teeming with its own ‘brand of hypermasculinity’, as he terms it: adolescents on the cusp of promise or obscurity, land that seemingly leads to nowhere, a sense of unending time and a dark side to domesticity.’ – Amanda Maddox, J. Paul Getty Museum.
The exhibition coincides with the launch of the MACK publication, Omaha Sketchbook. The book is a follow up to his award-winning bestseller ZZYZX.