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>> Jason Reblando


Jason Reblando
New Deal Utopias

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Jason Reblando, Tree Shade, Greenbelt, Maryland, Archival Inkjet Print.

Artist Statement
New Deal Utopias examines Franklin Roosevelt’s idealistic vision to resettle displaced farmers and poor urban dwellers in model cities. These "Greenbelt Towns"—Greenbelt, Maryland; Greenhills, Ohio; and Greendale, Wisconsin—were testing grounds for a new American way of life as envisioned by the short-lived government agency, the Resettlement Administration. The towns were planned communities that embodied the hope that American citizens would meet the challenges of the Great Depression in a spirit of cooperation, not individualism. Greenbelt residents would have the social and economic advantages of living in a community with each other, but would also be able to enjoy open green spaces and fresh air of nature.

Today we are again struggling through tough economic times—although not as tough as then—and the politics and divisions that produced the Greenbelt Towns still prevail. In the 1930s, the program was critiqued as "socialistic" and "communistic" by conservative members of Congress, industrial and corporate leaders, and newspapers hostile to New Deal policies. In these photos I explore the intersections of politics and place, the natural world and the built environment, and the ideal and real. My photographs of the three Greenbelt towns are not meant to be a guidebook, but rather an opportunity to engage with an overlooked expression of the New Deal as we continue to grapple with the complexities of housing, nature, and government in contemporary American life.

The Women's Committee of the Phildelphia Museum of Art - 2010 Photography Portfolio Competition >>
The Design Observer Group >>
Camera Austria >>

Artist Bio
Jason Reblando (b. 1973, Flushing, New York) received his MFA in Photography from Columbia College Chicago and his BA in Sociology from Boston College. He is a recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Artist Fellowship Award, a City of Chicago CAAP Grant, and a Columbia College Follett Fellowship. His photographs have been published in Camera Austria, PDNedu, and Bloomberg BusinessWeek. His photographs have been exhibited at the Singapore International Photo Festival, the Houston Center for Photography, the Light Factory in Charlotte, RayKo Gallery in San Francisco, and the Minnesota Center for Photography. Reblando’s work was also selected for the Philadelphia Museum of Art Photography Portfolio by Melissa Harris of Aperture and Tina Barney, and his work is included in the collections of the Museum of Contemporary Photography's Midwest Photographers Project, the Milwaukee Art Museum, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.







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