Images from the More Stately Mansions exhibition and events courtesy Lauren McCarty, Emily Hawkins, and Kitchen Table Gallery.

Show Statement:

As the wealth gap in the United States has been at the forefront of political debate. I'd like to create an exhibition that harkens back to the last time wealth inequality was a transformational issue, the gilded age of the 1800s. This is a time when great American mansions were built, largely on the backs of slave, non unionized, and/or new immigrant laborers. The current city layout of Philadelphia still serves as a mirror to these times. These mansions have continued to be glorified and highly valued in today's society as the American Dream. Visitors pay admission to view their lavish interiors with the wealthy family receiving credit and admiration for the subservient work, slave labor, incredible craftsmanship, and artistry it took to create said building. I find an absurdity in this value system. To me, the American Mansion represents a systemic practice of cultural appropriation, reliance on fiscal inequality, and the art object as home decor. Transforming the gallery space into a rendition of these iconic interiors is a way of investigating the artist's role in this long history of patronage and the gallery's role in the future of patronage and commodification in the arts.  

Curator: Veronica Cianfrano, CHampions of Empty Rooms

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