Delaware Contemporary. Wilmington, Delaware.

“Coolidge still ranks as the quietest president of all time.  Famously, a woman once approached him, saying ‘I bet my friend I could get you to say more than two words,’ to which Coolidge wittily replied, ‘F**k you!"   

-America the Book[1]

The story is supposedly true, only Coolidge replied, “You lose.”  The “true story” is funny, but the twist adds greater depth to the humor.  Within my work, there is also an element of this type of humor, a twist on a situation that requires a bit of forehand knowledge to fully appreciate the humor.  I try to create a constant play between humor and seriousness. 

Throughout our history, societies have created grand narratives embodied by their heroes and villains. Told, retold, and embellished over time, these narratives invariably became mythic in proportion.  It seems to be in our nature to deify some charismatic individuals and demonize others.  Maybe it is our way of protecting our own human nature, creating concepts of extreme good and evil to justify our own decisions and morality.  Today, it appears that we have lost all sense of those archetypal heroes and have replaced them with individuals who have achieved celebrity status and name recognition. 

The American President has become one of the most recognizable faces in the world.  Our fascination with them is far beyond their individual political engagements; it is focused on the office, the position of power.  They have been placed into a new set of narratives, one achieved not through their actions, but through celebrity status.  Their narratives are created within the political parties and the media. In a culture where our entire attentions span is diminished to sound bites, do we even actively participate in our own democratic society?  While my work does not present the answers, I do hope it compels the viewer to question.


- John Moran


[1] Stewart, 54.  On presidential nicknames.