December 13, 2016

Mrs. M. ————  invites you to read her journal entry discussing a complex new object she has received, and the challenges it has presented to her curated collection.

I have received a gift recently, from a dear friend, which is troubling to me. It is a gaudy and ostentatious vase which commemorates the centennial of our nation. The vase consists of three Eagles with shields bearing text which commemorates the centennial. The trouble is this is not an object that I would like to display in my cabinet. The vase does not fit the aesthetic which I have carefully curated for my cabinet. I am hence faced with the task of finding a space for it. The nature of the relationship in question is such that I would be remiss not to display it at all.

I do not object to the idea of commemorating the centennial celebration but the decoration of this vase and the unbridled display of, dare I say, aggressive patriotism is not in keeping with my vision of America nor my vision for my collection. My collection aims to highlight works made by those who are not represented otherwise. This vase, and indeed, the celebration of the centennial, is a celebration which does not represent all of america. Worse than that it hides the history of those who have been here since long before European men set foot on this land. The signing of the Declaration is not a celebratory landmark for the native peoples of this country.

I have recently acquired a copy of The Language of Flowers written by Henrietta Dumont. It is a fascinating look at the meaning one can convey with only a bouquet of flowers. Perhaps there is a way in which I can use this to display this so as to make it clear that this vase does not speak for me. A veiled criticism, but yet not too veiled so as to be passed over entirely. I need to select a grouping of flowers which will convey the idea that this vase hides more history than it represents.

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