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Work Samples

JACKSON-LEE MONUMENT Acrylic on birch wood panels, 2018

lauren frances adams
JACKSON-LEE MONUMENT Acrylic on birch wood panels, 2018 Foreground: ‘Still Life with Fruit and Nuts’ by Robert Duncanson (1848) with speculative offering left at the monument after its removal Background: Celebrants at the Jackson Lee Monument pedestal in August 2017, Baltimore / Confederate women mourners at Stonewall Jackson’s grave / Chestertown, Maryland colonial wallpaper pattern

Crazy Quilt

lauren frances adams
Above: Crazy Quilt installation at the Ackland Art Museum, 31′ x 12′ custom wallpaper print ART& Lauren Frances Adams 21 September 2018 – 10 March 2019 ACKLAND ART MUSEUM University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill https://ackland.org/exhibition/art-lauren-frances-adams/ This wallpaper design appropriates from the historic American textile technique called crazy quilting. Quilting is a visual and conceptual framework for incorporating a variety of objects from the Ackland’s collection, UNC’s historical memorabilia collection, symbols of the state of North Carolina and refer

American Catastrophe Report

lauren adams
overall installation at Katzen Arts Center through May 2015 showing Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill cartouche with oil-covered birds

Grand Tour Fan

Installed at Nymans House and Gardens in West Sussex, England for the exhibition Unravelling the National Trust. Nymans House and Garden is a National Trust property known primarily for its exquisite English garden, which has been designed and developed by three generations of the Messel family. The artwork is a large-scale fan inspired by the Messel family fan collection (at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK). Grand Tour Fan appropriates from the original c. 18th century Grand Tour Fan on display in Cambridge.

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About Lauren

Baltimore City

Lauren Frances Adams is a white artist who teaches painting at MICA. She earned her BFA at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and completed her MFA in 2007 at Carnegie Mellon University. She was born in Snow Hill, North Carolina, on a pig farm. She lives and works in Baltimore. Her work engages political and social histories through iconic images and domestic ornament. She has exhibited at Nymans House National Trust (Sussex, England);  The Walters Museum in Baltimore; The Mattress Factory... more

Crazy Quilt

This wallpaper design appropriates from the historic American textile technique called crazy quilting. Quilting is a visual and conceptual framework for incorporating a variety of objects from the Ackland Museum’s collection, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill historical memorabilia collection, symbols of the state of North Carolina and references to state history, and my own personal statements. These myriad sources converge into a crazy quilt — a metaphor for the overlapping and sometimes seemingly disjunctive influences moving back and forth between the public and private sphere in our

contemporary society. A particular emphasis is placed around images from the Ackland’s collection that feature women. Historic commemorative ribbons (memorializing the death of Lincoln or a 19th c. veterans’ gathering) offer a reworked framing device for elevating women’s history in North Carolina and at UNC.

  • Crazy Quilt

    lauren frances adams
    (Photo by Diane Davis Photo) Crazy Quilt installation at the Ackland Art Museum, 31′ x 12′ custom wallpaper print
  • Crazy Quilt

    lauren frances adams
    (Photo by Diane Davis Photo) Crazy Quilt installation at the Ackland Art Museum, 31′ x 12′ custom wallpaper print
  • Crazy Quilt

    lauren frances adams
    (Photo by Diane Davis Photo) Crazy Quilt installation at the Ackland Art Museum, 31′ x 12′ custom wallpaper print
  • Crazy Quilt

    lauren frances adams
    Crazy Quilt installation at the Ackland Art Museum, 31′ x 12′ custom wallpaper print
  • Crazy Quilt

    lauren frances adams
    Crazy Quilt installation at the Ackland Art Museum, 31′ x 12′ custom wallpaper print
  • Crazy Quilt

    lauren frances adams
    Crazy Quilt installation at the Ackland Art Museum, 31′ x 12′ custom wallpaper print
  • Crazy Quilt

    lauren frances adams
    Crazy Quilt installation at the Ackland Art Museum, 31′ x 12′ custom wallpaper print
  • Crazy Quilt

    lauren frances adams
    Crazy Quilt installation at the Ackland Art Museum, 31′ x 12′ custom wallpaper print
  • Crazy Quilt

    lauren frances adams
    Crazy Quilt installation at the Ackland Art Museum, 31′ x 12′ custom wallpaper print
  • Crazy Quilt

    lauren frances adams
    Crazy Quilt installation at the Ackland Art Museum, 31′ x 12′ custom wallpaper print

Germinal

The series of paintings on panel explore the recent removal of the Confederate monuments in Baltimore – and who put them there. The United Daughters of the Confederacy (and other activist groups) were responsible for constructing false Civil War narratives and for the intense rallying around monuments to Confederate memory in the 20th century - many installed 50-90 years after the end of the Civil War. This series of paintings and prints focus on the women of the UDC, ahistorical mythmaking of the Lost Cause, and whiteness, in an attempt to reveal connections between white supremacy and the shaping of public opinion through monument building.

The paintings on panel foreground laser-cut silhouettes of artworks by black artists from the 19th and 20th centuries. Highlighting the traditional materials of monumental sculpture, these silhouettes are rendered in a variety of marbles, casting light on which ideas were germinated in dominant narratives of American exceptionalism.

  • Jackson-Lee Monument

    lauren frances adams
    JACKSON-LEE MONUMENT Acrylic on birch wood panels, 2018 Foreground: ‘Still Life with Fruit and Nuts’ by Robert Duncanson (1848) with speculative offering left at the monument after its removal Background: Celebrants at the Jackson Lee Monument pedestal in August 2017, Baltimore / Confederate women mourners at Stonewall Jackson’s grave / Chestertown, Maryland colonial wallpaper pattern
  • CONFEDERATE WOMEN’S MONUMENT

    lauren frances adams
    CONFEDERATE WOMEN’S MONUMENT Acrylic on birch wood panels, 2018 Foreground: Joshua Johnson’s painting ‘Edward and Sarah Rutter’ (1805), painted as Cockeysville, Maryland marble (popular for use as stone steps in older row houses in Baltimore, as well as the Washington Monument in D.C.) Background: Removal of the Confederate Women’s Monument / Baltimore Album Quilt from 1851 / ‘A Female Rebel in Baltimore, An Everyday Scene’ from Harper’s Weekly 1861 / Brown Veil Club (a.k.a.
  • ROGER B TANEY MONUMENT

    lauren frances adams
    ROGER B. TANEY MONUMENT Acrylic on birch wood panels, 2018 Foreground: ‘Warped Table’ by Horace Pippin (1940) painted as marble from the Baltimore city courthouse Background: Present Google Street View locations in Baltimore of where ex-slaves from Maryland lived when they were interviewed by the Federal Writers Project for ‘Maryland Slave Narratives’ in the 1930s / 1836 wallpaper pattern from President Andrew Jackson’s home
  • CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS AND SAILORS MONUMENT

    lauren frances adams
    CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS AND SAILORS MONUMENT Acrylic on birch wood panels, 2018 Foreground: 3 stoneware vessels by David Drake (mid 1800s) in a variety of black marble from the United States Background: Defaced monument, antifa sticker and an offering left in summer of 2017 / 1836 abolitionist cradle quilt ‘Evening Star’ pattern from Anti-Slavery Fair in Boston / Silhouettes of Maryland Civil War secessionist cockades / An 1885 stoneware bank for an ‘relief bazaar’ organized by Baltimore women to aid Confederate veterans / Vintage images of the United Daughters of the Confederacy arrangi
  • BLOODY CATALOGUE

    lauren frances adams
    WHITE WOMANHOOD (Bloody Catalogue) Acrylic on birch wood panels, 2018 Foreground: Laura Wheeling Waring’s ‘Still Life with Tulips and Figurine’ (ca. 1940–1945) painted with Etowah Georgia pink marble Background: Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind / Flowers and burning flag used as props in photos taken by white supremacist mass murderer Dylann Roof / Confederate southern belle paper doll / Young girl as witness to the 1935 lynching of Rubin Stacy in Florida (from a NAACP anti-lynching pamphlet)
  • MAKING WHITENESS

    lauren frances adams
    MAKING WHITENESS (Arts & Sciences) Acrylic on birch wood panels, 2018 Foreground: Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller’s sculpture ‘Figure of a Woman’ (early 1900’s) painted with Potomac Maryland marble (most notably used in the columns of the Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol building) Background: Apollo Belvedere sculpture from classical antiquity / Illustration from ‘Indigenous Races of the Earth’ (1857) by Nott and Gliddon which promoted chattel slavery as justified via scientific theory of racial hierarchies
  • Installation View - J MAXWELL MILLER ARCHIVE

    lauren frances adams
    This exhibition contains documents from the archive of J. Maxwell Miller (sculptor of the Baltimore Confederate Women’s Monument) in Decker Library. There is also a reading library available, visible from the gallery. Thanks to Kathy Cowan and the Decker Library for organizing these two aspects of the exhibition. This project is supported by a MICA Marcella Brenner Grant.
  • Germinal (installation view)

    lauren frances adams
    Installation view of 'Germinal' at MICA's Pinkard Gallery, January 2018

Code Noir

Anatomy of Style in New France: Louis XV/Code Noir

Printed vinyl and three individual paintings (gouache and acrylic on paper, 2014)

2016

New France was the name of the territory stretching from New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico up the Mississippi River (including parts of Kansas and Missouri) to Canada during the French colonial period (16th-18th centuries). Louis XV was the king of France during this later period, and in 1724 at the age of 13, he signed into effect the second version of the Code Noir. This ‘black code’ consolidated the French legal framework concerning slavery in North America, restricting the rights of enslaved and free blacks and outlining the religious entitlements of all French subjects. The painted texts in the wallpaper are from this regulatory decree. The pixelated objects depicted in the wallpaper are from the Nelson-Atkins Museum collection of Louis XV style furniture, objects created in a style once popular in France and roughly concurrent with this later era of French trade and settlement in Illinois Country / Upper Louisiana. Collapsing ornament and oppression, the Code Noir textual extracts combined with archival evidence of the monarchy’s finest furnishings offer an acute contrast concerning an important period in the history of Missouri, and in the United States.

Positioned on the background image and hanging as if slightly askew in a genuine and grand domestic space are three paintings from my ongoing series, Decorum. Decorum is an incomplete but growing index of the histories of enslaved people from antiquity to the present. Decorative and textual sources trace the complex structures that surround labor and power inequalities. My sources are frequently found in museum collections, where the museum acts as both witness and author. Archival remnants of slave narratives, ornament, and my own personal inquiries constitute an open-ended process of asking how the decorative arts participate, either actively or silently, in promoting or reflecting dominant ideologies of social hierarchy, political authority, and cultural fantasy.

Decorum

Decorum is an incomplete but growing index of the histories of enslaved people from antiquity to the present. Allusions to slavery in the paintings are juxtaposed with decorative and textual sources in order to trace the complex structures that surround labor and power inequalities. Decorum considers the problems of sufficiently representing the legacy of slavery. Archival remnants of slave narratives, ornament, and my own personal inquiries constitute an open-ended process of asking how might the decorative arts participate, either actively or silently, in promoting or reflecting dominant ideologies of social hierarchy, political authority, and cultural fantasy.

This work has been shown at The Clermont Foundation (Berryville, VA), The Walters Art Museum (Baltimore, MD), SideCar (in Hammond, IN), and WPA Select (Artisphere, VA).

  • Decorum #19

    (Umbrella decorated with the Dutch Ridderzaal contemporary throne pattern, with Tournai blue and gold plate sherds from The Hague, Netherlands, late 1700s CE / Woodblock print, Dutch man taking a walk with his Javanese slave, 1780s CE, Nagasaki-e, Japan, The British Museum, London) Gouache and acrylic on Paper 2014
  • Decorum #23

    (Simple 20th-century CE teacup / Scene from tea plantation in Assam, India) Gouache and acrylic on Paper 2014
  • Decorum #31

    (Gouache sketch for an iris brooch by George Paulding Farnham for Tiffany and Co., 1900 CE / Egyptian figure in wood with paint [female servant], ca. 1400 BCE, both in the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland) Gouache and acrylic on Paper 2014
  • Decorum #32

    (Jan Claudius de Cock, Two studies of an elaborately decorated cradle, 1707 CE / Jan Claudius de Cock, Bust of an African Boy, ca. 1700 CE, in the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland) Gouache and acrylic on Paper 2014
  • Decorum #11

    (Diego Rivera, The Calla Lily Vendor, 1942(?) CE / Captured prisoners from a bas-relief at Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico, 8th c. CE) Gouache and acrylic on Paper 2014
  • Decorum #17

    (Architecture wallpaper sample, 1769 CE, from Founding Father [and co-author of the Bill of Rights] George Mason’s Virginia plantation, Gunston Hall [, copied from a fragment in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London] / Cowrie shell [Cypraecassis Testiculus] originally from the Caribbean and found on the grounds of Gunston Hall, likely owned by an enslaved person in 18th century CE) Gouache and acrylic on Paper 2014
  • Decorum #20

    (Brunschwig & Fils Mt. Vernon Plantation toile, late 20th c. CE / French lithograph of George Washington’s Mt. Vernon, 19th c. CE) Gouache and acrylic on Paper 2014
  • Decorum #4

    (Pablo Picasso, Le Homard et le Chat, 1965, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York / Guggenheim Abu Dhabi design by Frank Gehry, 2010s CE) Gouache and acrylic on Paper 2014
  • Decorum #7

    (Henri Bonnart’s 1688 CE print of a noblewoman, from the Muse?e du Cha?teau de Versailles, France / Black and white marble tiles from the main courtyard of Versailles) Gouache and acrylic on Paper 2014
  • Decorum #8

    (Cizhou-ware from Yuan Dynasty Shanxi, China, in the British Museum, London / Bricks from Shanxi for sale on Alibaba.com) Gouache and acrylic on Paper 2014

Precarious Prototypes

I began this project in search of objects in The Walters Museum collection that depicted enslaved peoples. Expanding my inquiry into the museum as labor archive, Precarious Prototypes ultimately explores the mannered representations of servitude and objectification within the museum’s collection. Select objects are exhibited as well as printed, to understand and unsettle the role of the museum as master narrator. And so, the drapery both reveals and conceals, becoming an index of unstable contradictions. Specifically, I am looking at how depictions of the body as subservient, contorted, dehumanized, grotesque and lacking agency, unravel how art history becomes art as history.
As installed at the Walters Museum, with textiles of the artist's design as well as museum objects.

  • Precarious Prototypes

    Precarious Prototypes, a textile installation that responds to and transforms selected objects from the Walters Art Museum’s collection.
  • Precarious Prototypes

    Precarious Prototypes, a textile installation that responds to and transforms selected objects from the Walters Art Museum’s collection.
  • Precarious Prototypes

    Precarious Prototypes, a textile installation that responds to and transforms selected objects from the Walters Art Museum’s collection.
  • Precarious Prototypes

    Precarious Prototypes, a textile installation that responds to and transforms selected objects from the Walters Art Museum’s collection.
  • la-2014-08-11-044.jpg

    Precarious Prototypes, a textile installation that responds to and transforms selected objects from the Walters Art Museum’s collection.
  • Precarious Prototypes

    Precarious Prototypes, a textile installation that responds to and transforms selected objects from the Walters Art Museum’s collection.
  • Precarious Prototypes

    Precarious Prototypes, a textile installation that responds to and transforms selected objects from the Walters Art Museum’s collection.
  • Precarious Prototypes

    Precarious Prototypes, a textile installation that responds to and transforms selected objects from the Walters Art Museum’s collection.
  • Precarious Prototypes

    Precarious Prototypes, a textile installation that responds to and transforms selected objects from the Walters Art Museum’s collection. shown also with Decorum, as installed at the Walters Art Museum
  • Precarious Prototypes

    Decorum, as installed at the Walters Art Museum, 2014

Grand Tour Fan

Installed at Nymans House and Gardens in West Sussex, England for the exhibition Unravelling the National Trust. Nymans House and Garden is a National Trust property known primarily for its exquisite English garden, which has been designed and developed by three generations of the Messel family. The artwork is a large-scale fan inspired by the Messel family fan collection (at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK). Grand Tour Fan appropriates from the original c. 18th century Grand Tour Fan on display in Cambridge. This fan inserts intentionally banal public places from contemporary Sussex life into the historical framework -- substituting scenes of Italian ruins with those of Gatwick Airport (just a few miles from Nymans House).

  • Grand Tour Fan

    Installed at Nymans House and Gardens in West Sussex, England for the exhibition Unravelling the National Trust. Nymans House and Garden is a National Trust property known primarily for its exquisite English garden, which has been designed and developed by three generations of the Messel family. The artwork is a large-scale fan inspired by the Messel family fan collection (at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK). Grand Tour Fan appropriates from the original c. 18th century Grand Tour Fan on display in Cambridge.
  • Grand Tour Fan

    Installed at Nymans House and Gardens in West Sussex, England for the exhibition Unravelling the National Trust. Nymans House and Garden is a National Trust property known primarily for its exquisite English garden, which has been designed and developed by three generations of the Messel family. The artwork is a large-scale fan inspired by the Messel family fan collection (at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK). Grand Tour Fan appropriates from the original c. 18th century Grand Tour Fan on display in Cambridge.
  • dscf0182b.jpg

    Second fan on display in the Nymans House and Gardens. Road to Nymans pictures the M23 roadway, the main thoroughfare between London and Nymans, which elevates with absurd revisions of the ornamental fan scenes, challenging site-specific concepts of fantasy and utopia.
  • dscf0119a-900pxweb.jpg

    Second fan on display in the Nymans House and Gardens. Road to Nymans pictures the M23 roadway, the main thoroughfare between London and Nymans, which elevates with absurd revisions of the ornamental fan scenes, challenging site-specific concepts of fantasy and utopia.
  • Road to Nymans Fan

    Second fan on display in the Nymans House and Gardens. Road to Nymans pictures the M23 roadway, the main thoroughfare between London and Nymans, which elevates with absurd revisions of the ornamental fan scenes, challenging site-specific concepts of fantasy and utopia.
  • Road to Nymans

    Second fan on display in the Nymans House and Gardens. Road to Nymans pictures the M23 roadway, the main thoroughfare between London and Nymans, which elevates with absurd revisions of the ornamental fan scenes, challenging site-specific concepts of fantasy and utopia.

American Catastrophe Report

September 1, 2014 - May 2015
Washington, D.C.

Artist Lauren Frances Adams has created American Catastrophe Report, an installation that acts as both homage and critique of the decorative frescoes in the United States Capitol Building, originally painted in the 19th c. by Italian-born artist Constantino Brumidi. The site-specific artwork by Adams is installed in American University’s Katzen Arts Center, in both the upper and lower rotunda in the center of the building, less than six miles from where Brumidi’s paintings are located. The prints forming American Catastrophe Report have the appearance of paintings due to the unique process Adams uses, where hand-painted originals are digitally scanned then printed for long-term public display. Adams updates Brumidi’s Capitol ornamentation by directly addressing ecological disasters in America that have been caused by human activities.
Visitors to the Katzen Arts Center will see an installation that is a mix of appropriated and invented imagery. Adams adapts Brumidi’s original frescoes in the U.S. Senate Wing that picture landscapes of the sparsely populated western states of the mid-19th century, as well as a variety of detailed images of birds. According to historians, Brumidi copied from lithographs in the Pacific Railroad Report and the Mexican Boundary Report, published in the 1850’s. It is possible that Brumidi’s incorporation of these landscapes were intended to not only celebrate scenic visions of America but also to promote a comprehensive identity of American geography and inevitable settlement. Further promoting specificity of place, the birds pictured in the Senate wing point to the importance of uniquely American subject matter in Brumidi’s efforts. Assistant curator for the Office of Senate Curator, Amy Elizabeth Burton, writes about the time capsule nature of the paintings, stating in the catalogue (published in 2014) To Make Beautiful the Capitol: Rediscovering the Art of Constantino Brumidi, “Brumidi’s birds reflect the 19-century surge in westward expansion and federal support for exploration and scientific discovery across the young and developing nation.”
Extending and celebrating this act of copying, Lauren Frances Adams has updated Brumidi’s masterful efforts with similar themes -- landscapes and ornithological images -- but with a decidedly different artistic outcome. Reflecting a century and a half of human enterprise since Brumidi’s time, a selection of landscapes in decorative cartouches offers up these situations: Fracking (in rural Pennsylvania), the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, Mountaintop Removal Mining (in West Virginia), the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill (in the Gulf of Mexico), and Climate Change (specified as glacial retreat in Alaska). Corresponding to each man-made ecological disaster, and pointing towards the totalizing effects of habitat destruction, pollution via chemicals and garbage, and changes in weather conditions, Adams has included several birds that represent the threats to fauna as environmental destruction advances: Scarlet Tanager, Bristle-Thighed Curlew, Cerulean Warbler, Brown Pelican, and the Tufted Puffin.

Other imagery present throughout the rotunda gives depth to the historical relationships between American citizens and our physical landscape. Acting as symbolic prescience, ornamental designs incorporate two birds distinctly absent from America today: the Carolina Parakeet and the Passenger Pigeon, both extinct. Decorative flora in the paintings incorporates kudzu, a non-native species that has caused widespread ecological damage in the United States. Other imagery near the project signage incorporates invasive species in North America: Africanized bee, Common Starling, Nutria, Cabbage White butterfly, and the Emerald Ash Borer. Lofted high above, two medallions face one another in the upper rotunda: a war-like eagle and a gentle lamb. Utilizing the neoclassical aesthetic employed by Constantino Brumidi (who was in turn inspired by ornamental Renaissance paintings in the Vatican), Adams incorporates uniquely American identifications, inviting visitors to the American University Katzen Arts Center to reflect upon the conundrum of the contemporary American condition visualized in American Catastrophe Report.

  • American Catastrophe Report

    overall installation at Katzen Arts Center through May 2015
  • American Catastrophe Report

    overall installation at Katzen Arts Center through May 2015 showing Great Pacific Garbage Patch cartouche
  • American Catastrophe Report

    overall installation at Katzen Arts Center through May 2015 showing Glacial Retreat in Alaska cartouche
  • American Catastrophe Report

    overall installation at Katzen Arts Center through May 2015 showing Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill cartouche with oil-covered birds
  • American Catastrophe Report

    lauren adams
    overall installation at Katzen Arts Center through May 2015 showing Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill cartouche with oil-covered birds
  • American Catastrophe Report

    overall view of signage for installation at Katzen Arts Center through May 2015 Signage details the sites shown in the 5 panels/cartouches as well as each bird included corresponding with the physical sites. Side panels show invasive species of North America.
  • American Catastrophe Report

    overall view of installation at Katzen Arts Center through May 2015
  • American Catastrophe Report

    detail of Carolina Parakeets (extinct species) in the installation at Katzen Arts Center through May 2015
  • American Catastrophe Report

    overall installation at Katzen Arts Center through May 2015
  • American Catastrophe Report

    overall installation at Katzen Arts Center through May 2015

All My Possessions for a Moment of Time

All My Possessions for a Moment of Time, paint, 2011, 35' x 15'

All My Possessions for a Moment of Time revives a portrait painting of Queen Elizabeth I, entitled THE ARMADA PORTRAIT (three original versions from the 1500’s, most notably by George Gower), which documents in an allegorical and symbolic context one of the most well-known stories from the Elizabethan Era. Nestled within the appropriated lace collar of Queen Elizabeth, the silhouettes of Algonquins (as presented in Theodore de Bry and Thomas Hariots “A Brief and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia “, 1588) stretch into another kind of lace-like pattern, forming an all-over impression that reads quite differently to the viewer depending upon their distance from the painting. Drawing upon strategies of pattern and ornament, and the malleable possibilities of form and shape, this piece is part of an ongoing inquiry in an exploratory series of paintings and drawings that lift, excise, and appropriate the found figures and clothing forms from the historical documents, hopefully creating charged absurdities that reflect the legacy of historical inequity in a contemporary visual language.

The title is inspired by a poem written by Queen Elizabeth I.

  • All My Possessions for a Moment of Time

    lauren adams
    All my possessions for a moment of time (from the Lost Colony Project) Detail of lace collar from Queen Elizabeth I’s Armada Portrait, c. 1580’s. The lace includes figures from drawings John White made in the 1580’s of Algonquins along the coast of North Carolina. In the exhibition ‘OUT OF FASHION’ at the South Eastern Center for Contemporary Art in North Carolina, 11/2011 – 3/2012. 2011 35’ wide, height variable (low point is 14 feet) latex paint on wall
  • All My Possessions for a Moment of Time

    All my possessions for a moment of time (from the Lost Colony Project) Detail of lace collar from Queen Elizabeth I’s Armada Portrait, c. 1580’s. The lace includes figures from drawings John White made in the 1580’s of Algonquins along the coast of North Carolina. In the exhibition ‘OUT OF FASHION’ at the South Eastern Center for Contemporary Art in North Carolina, 11/2011 – 3/2012. 2011 35’ wide, height variable (low point is 14 feet) latex paint on wall
  • All My Possessions for a Moment of Time

    All my possessions for a moment of time (from the Lost Colony Project) Detail of lace collar from Queen Elizabeth I’s Armada Portrait, c. 1580’s. The lace includes figures from drawings John White made in the 1580’s of Algonquins along the coast of North Carolina. In the exhibition ‘OUT OF FASHION’ at the South Eastern Center for Contemporary Art in North Carolina, 11/2011 – 3/2012. 2011 35’ wide, height variable (low point is 14 feet) latex paint on wall
  • All My Possessions for a Moment of Time

    All my possessions for a moment of time (from the Lost Colony Project) Detail of lace collar from Queen Elizabeth I’s Armada Portrait, c. 1580’s. The lace includes figures from drawings John White made in the 1580’s of Algonquins along the coast of North Carolina. In the exhibition ‘OUT OF FASHION’ at the South Eastern Center for Contemporary Art in North Carolina, 11/2011 – 3/2012. 2011 35’ wide, height variable (low point is 14 feet) latex paint on wall
  • All My Possessions for a Moment of Time

    All my possessions for a moment of time (from the Lost Colony Project) Detail of lace collar from Queen Elizabeth I’s Armada Portrait, c. 1580’s. The lace includes figures from drawings John White made in the 1580’s of Algonquins along the coast of North Carolina. In the exhibition ‘OUT OF FASHION’ at the South Eastern Center for Contemporary Art in North Carolina, 11/2011 – 3/2012. 2011 35’ wide, height variable (low point is 14 feet) latex paint on wall
  • All My Possessions for a Moment of Time

    All my possessions for a moment of time (from the Lost Colony Project) Detail of lace collar from Queen Elizabeth I’s Armada Portrait, c. 1580’s. The lace includes figures from drawings John White made in the 1580’s of Algonquins along the coast of North Carolina. In the exhibition ‘OUT OF FASHION’ at the South Eastern Center for Contemporary Art in North Carolina, 11/2011 – 3/2012. 2011 35’ wide, height variable (low point is 14 feet) latex paint on wall

We the People

WE THE PEOPLE, a new solo project for Expo Chicago/2012 at the Navy Pier, September 19 – 24, 2012.

Lauren Adams: We the People is organized by the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (CAM) and curated by Kelly Shindler, Assistant Curator.

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.

  • We the People

    We the People 2012 EXPO Chicago at the Navy Pier A solo booth presentation with the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis 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. Visitors to the 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.
  • We the People

    We the People 2012 EXPO Chicago at the Navy Pier A solo booth presentation with the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis 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. Visitors to the 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.
  • We the People

    We the People 2012 EXPO Chicago at the Navy Pier A solo booth presentation with the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis 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. Visitors to the 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.
  • We the People

    We the People 2012 EXPO Chicago at the Navy Pier A solo booth presentation with the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis 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. Visitors to the 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.
  • We the People

    We the People 2012 EXPO Chicago at the Navy Pier A solo booth presentation with the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis 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. Visitors to the 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.
  • We the People

    We the People 2012 EXPO Chicago at the Navy Pier A solo booth presentation with the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis 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. Visitors to the 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.
  • We the People

    We the People 2012 EXPO Chicago at the Navy Pier A solo booth presentation with the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis 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. Visitors to the 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.
  • We the People

    We the People 2012 EXPO Chicago at the Navy Pier A solo booth presentation with the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis 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. Visitors to the 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.
  • We the People

    We the People 2012 EXPO Chicago at the Navy Pier A solo booth presentation with the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis 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. Visitors to the 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.
  • We the People

    We the People 2012 EXPO Chicago at the Navy Pier A solo booth presentation with the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis 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. Visitors to the 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.

Centennial of the Everyday (collaboration with Stewart Watson)

In the summer of 2017, the City of Alexandria’s Office of the Arts partners with Baltimore-based artists Stewart Watson and Lauren Frances Adams for a series of site-specific installations inspired by the history of Gadsby’s Tavern Museum. Centennial of the Everyday features artistic interventions tucked in among the historic exhibits.

These works of art reflect the artists’ extensive research on the history of women, enslaved peoples, and anonymous citizens in Alexandria whose stories are rarely told in light of the typical fêting of historically famous individuals, such as America’s Founding Fathers.
Living community members are featured who have a relationship to the Gadsby Tavern building or John Gadsby himself (such as descendants of John Gadsby and Nancy Syphax, one of the women enslaved by John Gadsby during the 19th century).

Encompassing familiar domestic materials such as furniture, stoneware, and textiles, Watson and Adams evocatively document period-specific historic ephemera (such as architecture, newspaper reports, poetry, portraiture of anonymous women, and textile patterns) in new contexts. Animated video, the Female Stranger’s canopy bedding, and a sculptural reversal of the ‘Alexandria Ballroom’ acknowledging the centennial of its acquisition by the Metropolitan Museum in New York, comprise just a few of the works which are on display.
The artists weave themes of anonymity, loss, connectivity and the fragility of memory in museum and public record archives alongside the lived stories of present-day Alexandrians.

  • Centennial of the Everyday (collaborative project with Stewart Watson)

    centennial of the everyday lauren adams stewart watson
    The artists researched, identified, and invited 7 subjects to collaborate with in creating the sculptural installation of chairs in the Gadsby Tavern ballroom, with a special emphasis on working with women and people of color. Interviews were conducted in the spirit of identifying personal stories of place and family history, so as to connect the interviewees to broader themes of belonging, work, identity, and genealogy.
  • Centennial of the Everyday (collaborative project with Stewart Watson)

    centennial of the everyday lauren adams stewart watson
    The artists researched, identified, and invited 7 subjects to collaborate with in creating the sculptural installation of chairs in the Gadsby Tavern ballroom, with a special emphasis on working with women and people of color. Interviews were conducted in the spirit of identifying personal stories of place and family history, so as to connect the interviewees to broader themes of belonging, work, identity, and genealogy.
  • Centennial of the Everyday (collaborative project with Stewart Watson)

    centennial of the everyday lauren adams stewart watson
    Sculptural installation of the chair of Stephen Hammond. From ‘A Particular Provenance’ in Gadsby’s Tavern Museum Ballroom. Stephen Hammond, Sterling, Virginia Mid 20th century Windsor chair Stephen is the 3x great grandson of Nancy Syphax, who was enslaved by Provey Norris and John Gadsby. He is a retired geologist after a 40-year career with the U.S Geological Survey, a father, and a passionate family genealogist. He was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, and moving to Virginia has heightened his genealogical explorations, which he also travels to New Orleans to conduct.
  • Centennial of the Everyday (collaborative project with Stewart Watson)

    centennial of the everyday lauren adams stewart watson
    Sculptural installation of the collaboration with Char McCargo Bah. From ‘A Particular Provenance’ in Gadsby’s Tavern Museum Ballroom. Char McCargo Bah, Stafford, Virginia Late 19th century traveling trunk Char is a professional genealogist, author, lecturer, civic activist, volunteer, Federal Government employee, mother, and native Alexandrian. Since 2008, as a consultant to the city, she has located dozens of descendants from those buried at the Contraband and Freedmen’s Cemetery, most of whom are five and six generations removed.
  • Centennial of the Everyday (collaborative project with Stewart Watson)

    centennial of the everyday lauren adams stewart watson
    Sculptural installation of the chair of DeAnne Bryant. From ‘A Particular Provenance’ in Gadsby’s Tavern Museum Ballroom. DeAnne Bryant, Alexandria, Virginia Early 21st century reproduction rocking chair, reproduction Masai spear, Central African woven basket, camel hair rug DeAnne is a State Department employee with former posts in Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, and South Africa. As a pedestrian commuter, you can find her walking to and from Alexandria, DC, and Mount Vernon for work and pleasure. With a love of travel and roots in the southwest, her family once owned an antique shop.
  • Centennial of the Everyday (collaborative project with Stewart Watson)

    centennial of the everyday lauren adams stewart watson
    Sculptural installation of the chair of Lex Powers. From ‘A Particular Provenance’ in Gadsby’s Tavern Museum Ballroom. Lex Powers, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Mid 20th century Chippendale chair Lex is the 5x great grandson of Provey Norris and John Gadsby, but did not know this until the artists contacted him. He is a city planner who is committed to traffic calming and urban design that is pedestrian-forward.
  • Centennial of the Everyday (collaborative project with Stewart Watson)

    centennial of the everyday lauren adams stewart watson
    Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience Antique linen napkin with embroidery This napkin traces the recent archeological surveys of unmarked graves of the ‘negro burying ground’ at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. The artists visited the site and consulted with the Archeology Lab at Mount Vernon, learning about the burial practices of the peoples who were enslaved at Mount Vernon in the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as the layered histories of the site, from pre-historic Native American hunting ground to sacred 21st century meaning.
  • Centennial of the Everyday (collaborative project with Stewart Watson)

    centennial of the everyday lauren adams stewart watson
    The Abolitionist’s Hard Times Spoon Etched primitive wooden spoon with 19th century anti-slavery imagery. Abolitionist campaigns in England and America in the 18th and 19th centuries included the reproduction of such images on pottery, brooches, and hairpieces. The words reference Frederick Douglass’ essay, ‘Why I Became a Woman’s Rights Man,’ from his book Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, where he states: “Her skill, industry, patience, and perseverance have been wonderfully manifest in every trial hour.” ALL PHOTOS BY VINCE LUPO/DIRECTION ONE, INC.
  • Centennial of the Everyday (collaborative project with Stewart Watson)

    centennial of the everyday lauren adams stewart watson
    Not on View Custom designed textile on historic canopy bed Fabrication assistance, seamstress Amber Whitehead The Female Stranger is a local legend passed down over 100 years. While the details change depending upon who you ask, it revolves around a gravely ill woman who arrived at this hotel in 1816 and passed away. The only evidence remaining is a tombstone in St.
  • Centennial of the Everyday (collaborative project with Stewart Watson)

    centennial of the everyday lauren adams stewart watson
    Installation view of the soda fired stoneware in the Assembly Room at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum. Vestige Vessels: Centennial of the Everyday Soda fired stoneware, looping video, plexiglass, walnut Stoneware made in collaboration with Jani Hileman and Mat Karas at the Maryland Institute College of Art Ceramics Department, Baltimore Videos produced in collaboration with Jonathan Monaghan In the Centennial of the Everyday vessel, an 18th century coconut sherd from the Alexandria Archaeology collection is shown as a spinning animation.

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Lauren's Curated Collection

This artist has not yet created a curated collection.