Saturday, July 4, 2009

EXHIBIT: "Amerykański Sen – American Dream" - Kraków, Poland

by Staś Kmieć

U.S. citizens in the United States and abroad are celebrating Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. This year marks the 233rd Anniversary of America’s Independence.

In the United States, the national holiday is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, picnics, concerts, baseball games, ceremonies, and various other public and private events.

Americans in Poland also celebrate the occasion with festive events, concerts, and official ceremonies. U.S. Ambassador to Poland Victor Ashe and Consul General Anne Hall hosted a 4th of July reception for over 2,000 Polish and American guests on July 2. The reception ended with a traditional fireworks display against Warsaw’s skyline.

The U.S. Embassy in Warsaw and the U.S. Consulate General in Kraków are celebrating the Fourth of July holiday with a series of events, including the opening of the American Dream Exhibit in Kraków (Amerykański Sen), which opened on July 1.

The exhibition, organized by the Kraków’s National Museum, Jagiellonian University and the U.S. Consulate in Kraków , is part of U.S. Mission Poland’s celebration of the 90th Anniversary of Polish-American diplomatic relations.

American Dream is an artistic and educational experiment, presenting works of art, large-scale installations (such as the Apollo lunar landing), films, including documentaries (such as Woodstock – the biggest music festival of the 1960s), large format photographic prints and sound tracks created especially for the project.

America is observed through forty paintings of the most famous Photorealists from the private collection of Louis K. and Susan P. Meisel from New York.

The project, conceived over 18 months ago, shows the way the idea of “America” influenced the Polish imagination from 1945-1989. American Dream encompasses six exhibitions and an extensive interdisciplinary educational program and is happening not only in the museum itself, but in and around the city.

The underlying concept is to create an exhibition around the people, phenomena and notions linked with American culture and of significance to the generations of Poles whose youth was spent in the 1950s, 60s and 70s under the realities of the People’s Republic of Poland and its political propaganda.

American Dream will be on display through October 4, and the National Museum (Main Building, Al. 3 Maja 1) has put together an events calendar to accompany the exhibition. The website ( offers an extensive interactive program.