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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Diana Markosian: Santa Barbara

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International Center of Photography / New York / Art

Years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the grim Soviet era, the contemporary artist Diana Markosian moved to the U.S. from Moscow. Her family settled in Santa Barbara, but soon came to realize that the idealized California life was worlds away from their impoverished reality. In a collaboration with one of the scriptwriters from the 1980s American soap opera Santa Barbara, Markosian uses staged photographs and video to recreate those first unsettling moments on American soil. She tells the story through the perspective of her mother, sending a powerful message about sacrifice, family, and the seductive, elusive American Dream. —E.C.

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