The American Dream Project: Overview

American Dream Drawing

When you think about the forms imagination can take,
it can take place anywhere between the nightmare and the dream.
That’s part of the thinking that goes into developing a social or political artwork.

— Suzanne Lacy

The American Dream Project is our most dramatic public artwork to date. We installed it during the Republican and Democratic conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia. This enormous sculpture in ice disappeared in less than 4 hours at both sites highlighting the erosion of opportunity and social equality. Melting one of the central tenets of postwar America suspends disbelief and as the sculpture wept through its transformation, the action compelled people to bear witness to ideas and concepts they may only subconsciously feel.

What is the American Dream in 2016? from The New Yorker from LigoranoReese on Vimeo.

ArtsEverywhere, a project of the Musagetes Foundation, supported the live streaming and short-term writers’ residencies in both cities offering writers, poets and journalists the chance to write and blog about the event and its significance. The City Club of Cleveland, the oldest free speech organization in the country, hosted a teach-in featuring community leaders and artists on the role of art and politics. Hear the podcast. In Philadelphia a public reading of texts on the state of America by noted authors will take place as the sculpture melts.

View time-lapse video »


The American Dream Project is dedicated to Michael Ratner 1943–2016