Jasmine Clark photographs, 2013-2017 1.5 Linear Feet — 1 flat box — 36 prints
Titled in reference to outgoing President Eisenhower's speech regarding the dangers of military power, this collection consists of 36 16x20 inch color inkjet photographs from the documentary project "After Eisenhower" by photographer Jasmine Clark. Clark documented signs, symbols, slogans, murals and advertising that permeate the streets and outdoor spaces of an anonymous military town or towns. No locations are recorded for the photographs, but they were all or almost all taken in California. The images convey complex themes of patriotism, Christianity, masculinity and femininity, and other iconographic expressions of "Middle America" culture.
From the artist's statement: "The photographs in 'After Eisenhower' are influenced by my upbringing in a United States Marine Corps community in Twentynine Palms, California...My sister and I were exposed to the ideologies of American patriotism and nationalism. We learned the critical distinction between the two; namely, that the embedded framework of American nationalism is inseparable from and in service to the systemic cultural narrative that brown skin and other physical characteristics are negative."
"The military is intertwined in the established patriotic, national and Christian identity. How is patriotism learned and sustained without any direct military relationship and in a society that oppresses any aspect of your identity? President Dwight D. Eisenhower's farewell presidential address warned about the implications of military power and its impact on American culture. In response to my curiosities and Eisenhower's warning, my work probes how American patriotic identity manifests when its symbols, e.g., the national anthem and the American flag, are conflated with complex and polarizing issues such as racial discrimination, religion, gender identity, and nationalism. The saturation of these oversimplified messages is disconcerting. They are meant to have clear meanings. However, these places and artifacts suggest more problematic truths about American life and our relationship to our military."
For her work "After Eisenhower," Clark received the Archive of Documentary Arts Award for Emerging Documentarians in 2017.
Acquired by the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.