Nic Nicosia: Fact or Fiction?
October 17 - November 24, 2002

Nic Nicosia has been plumbing the depths of the suburban subconscious in his photographs, videos and films for more than 20 years.Nic Nicosia's

"Mixing reality and fantasy, Nic Nicosia has expertly uncovered the unseemly truths about middle-American life, exposing the fear, horror, lust, violence, perversion, and humor that bubble beneath a perfectly manicured facade. In an age where truth can be stranger than fiction, Nicosia creates a world that hovers somewhere in between.

Nic Nicosia's "Nicosia began making photographs in the late 1970s at a time when the modernist dogma of photography was under fire. While modern masters such as Ansel Adams and Edward Weston had extolled the camera's ability to capture and deliver truth, a new generation emerged that questioned photography's authority and sought to expose its inherent artificiality. These young photographers staged tableaux and manipulated their works, all the while using the "truthfulness" of the medium to create believable fictions.

"Nicosia's tableaux from this period shared much in common with those by such East Coast photographers as Cindy Sherman, Sandy Skoglund and David Levinthal; however, Nicosia's fabrications were unique in that his subject matter was drawn from the conservative middle-class suburbs of Dallas (where he lived) and his own domestic experiences. The trials and tribulations of family relationships and home life, recurring themes in Nicosia's work, were introduced at this time in melodramatic and chaotic scenes performed by family and friends on large studio sets. Although these photographs depict real problems plaguing many families, Nicosia purposefully drew attention to their artificiality by exposing obvious technical seams.

Middletown by Nic Nicosia, 1997, digital video, 13:18 minutes"In 1997, feeling he had accomplished what he wanted in photography, Nicosia shifted his attention to making videos and films. Not surprisingly, certain subjects, ideas, and visual motifs from his photographic work reappeared in his moving pictures. The surrealism of everyday life in the suburbs--those things that happen that seem stranger than fiction--has been one of Nicosia's favorite topics. In his video Middletown, Nicosia takes us on a looping ride through his suburban Dallas neighborhood where we witness a steady stream of surreal and mundane events...cowboys in suits meandering down the street...a boy on a bicycle dragging an inflatable sex doll...a man in office clothes mowing his lawn. A technical tour de force, this bizarre video was shot in a single 15-minute take and is accompanied by a lilting soundtrack reminiscent of ice cream trucks and circuses. In his later films Moving Picture, Middletown Morning, and On Acting America, we become voyeurs alongside Nicosia, secretly spying on the dily lives of nice, American middle-class families--people just like us.

...Elizabeth Dunbar, curator at the Ulrich Museum

For your complimentary copy of the exhibition invitation, please e-mail the Ulrich Museum and put "Nic Nicosia invitation" in the subject line. Our e-mail address is: ulrich@wichita.edu

A selection of Nicosia's films and video shorts, "Nic Nicosia's Moving Images," are being screened at the Ulrich Museum until Monday, November 25, 2002. The following films will be shown:

  • Middletown, 1997
    Digital video
    14:53 (minutes:seconds)
  • Moving Picture, 1998
    16 mm film
    5:23
  • Middletown Morning, 1999
    16 mm film
    11:32
  • Cerchi E Quadratti (Circles and Squares), 2000
    35 mm film
    13:58
  • On Acting America, 2001
    16 mm film
    17:44
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