Courtesy of Art Enables

Actually, I’m from the suburbs; I just say DC because it’s easier”

Raise your hand if you’ve ever told a stranger you’re from a well known city rather than the suburb you actually call home. It just feels easier, right? But maybe it’s more than that. A new Art Enables exhibit “Actually, I’m from the suburbs; I just say DC because it’s easier” by Aaron Maier-Carretero and a group of Art Enables artists explores what it means to be from the suburbs, the pinnacle of the “American Dream.” He asks, is it uncomfortable to be associated with a “generic” place? And how does suburban culture shape us as individuals, when the culture itself is often shaped by racism, sexism, hidden violence, and dysfunction? Maier-Carretero’s exhibit explores the love and tension found in a suburban family home. The installation combines actual pieces of furniture and other physical elements of a suburban house with illustrated flat-surfaced art. In his piece “Waltzing with Bears,” a father and son embrace each other in the child’s dark bedroom, while light illuminates where the door has been punched in. Art Enables resident artists Michael Haynes, Paul Lewis, Raymond Lewis, Max Poznerzon, and Nonja Tiller all contribute their own interpretations of what it means to be from the suburbs. In one area of the installation, an actual kitchen table is surrounded by drawn windows by Tiller, an illustrated clock by Raymond Lewis, and paintings of families titled “breakfast” and “not in front of the kids” by Maier-Carretero. The exhibition runs through June 19 at Art Enables, 2204 Rhode Island Ave. NE. Online exhibition and coronavirus safety measures are available at art-enables.org. Free. —Julie Gallagher