WE THE PEOPLE, a new solo project for Expo Chicago/2012 at the Navy Pier, September 19 – 24, 2012.
Lauren Adams’s work addresses historical issues of colonialism—the system by which the people of one territory establish systems of authority or control over people in another territory—and industrialization to demonstrate how they inform our present-day reality. Working in a variety of media from painting and drawing to textiles and printmaking, she repurposes centuries-old imagery to explore the relationship between labor and the production of material goods. Adams uses specific images, symbols, and situations from these histories to suggest how they play a significant role in the balance of power between social classes, nations, and ethnicities today.
We the People is an interactive installation in which the artist has painted slogans from recent Occupy Wall Street and Tea Party protests into reproduced Revolutionary War-era wallpaper. The pattern, entitled “General Samuel McClellan,” features a repeated image of various everyday objects from the 18th-century. Extracted and abstracted from its original context, the protest language visible on the wallpaper functions as a generalized call to action. Visitors to CAM’s booth can record their own “protest” on a unique ceramic plate to be displayed during the fair. A custom-designed tea towel made exclusively for Expo Chicago both advertises the project and is exchanged with visitors in return for their contributions.
Lauren Adams: We the People is organized by the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (CAMSTL) and curated by Kelly Shindler, Assistant Curator.