Bri Murphy

     Unfounded

The work in this series challenges the glorification of the Founding Fathers as they are canonized in both historical contexts and contemporary applications. Washington, Jefferson, Madison...their biographies are dotted with mentions of their wives and loyal servants; their accomplishments archived in stone, oil, and ink. Within this cultural milieu, it is easy to forget that continued reverence for historical figures such as the Founding Fathers requires a forgetting of violence and/or a complete omission of other histories. The product of a collective forgetting is a new mythology, an American mythology that proliferates stories of white fathers and sons, and the visual iconography of our country is made in their image.

 

The busts in this room, Unfounded: Washington and Unfounded: Jefferson, are 3D printed versions of the famous sculptures by Jean-Antoine Houdon, appropriated from digital scans found online. The democratization of information on the internet is a conduit to the past, a path to collaborations across time and space. These new iterations embody their own instability - their low-resolution echoes the degeneration of the single, hegemonic American narrative that every day continues to unravel.

 

Candidly - the work in this exhibition is the result of a complicated relationship to my own American identity. I hope moments of reverence shine as brightly as the criticisms - for I am proud to live in a country where I am free to love and fight for what I believe in. My practice requires me to make space for the things that cause me despair, make me the most furious, and also challenge me to find hope and pride. Thank you for sharing it with me.

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