This photo shows TRUTH which I started several years ago. It is a 3-dimensional fruit crate label for both the top and the front of the fruit crate. TRUTH is constructed from recycled tin cans, and Plexiglas scrap. The TRUTH label fits on a custom made fruit craft that contains three bracelets as a commentary about the 45 administration. The three bracelets are Alternative Facts, Web of Lies and Circular Logic.
What is TRUTH?
Ever since the presidential election of 2016, the concept of TRUTH (which I considered an absolute) has been bent. Since when is opinion equal to fact? What happens when people fabricate the TRUTH? What does it say about our current administration when the government of the United States bends and undermines the facts from moment to moment.
I am not the only one examining the concept of TRUTH. The New York Times recently adopted an unofficial slogan, "The TRUTH is more important now."
Historical examples of TRUTH
TRUTH is a concept that is often examined closely, but it hard to define.
The embroidered sampler (Ieft photo) from the 19th century was most likely sold as a kit for developing needleworking skills and then displayed at home. It illustrates that friendship is built on truth. Truth and honesty were highly valued attributes of politics and personal accountability in the 19th century. "Honest Abe" is just one example.
The California Fruit crate label (right photo) from the early 20th century was designed as product identity for Sunkist oranges. Here TRUTH is used as a concept to represent a quality product.
A recent article from Time Magazine by a Wall Street Journal writer Bret Stephans describes trust within our current politics.
"When you work at The Wall Street Journal, the coins of the realm are truth and trust — the latter flowing exclusively from the former. When you read a story in the Journal, you do so with the assurance that immense reportorial and editorial effort has been expended to ensure that what you read is factual."
Why is jewelry contained within the TRUTH Fruit Crate?
Jewelry has a long history of a symbolic role in political activism.
The gold pin (left) was worn during the Suffragette Movement. It was in the collection of Madeline Albright and shown in the exhibition and book "Read My Pins." "The green, white and violet colors of the gemstones and pearls signify, respectively, hope, purity and dignity. The first letter of each color (G, W, & V) suggests an apt acronym: "Give Women the Vote' ." Jewelry sent an important political message empowering women to stand up and be counted in marches demanding the vote and social change." (Quotes are from the description labels from Legion of Honor exhibition "Read My Pins.")
The most significant example of Suffragette jewelry was the Holloway Brooch designed by Sylvia Pankhurst around 1909. It is a square grid that is supposed to represent the portcullis symbol of the House of Commons, England. It has the silver gate and hanging chains. On the center is a enameled arrow in purple, white and green. It was "first presetned to ex-suffragette prisoners at a mass demonstration at the Albert Hall on April 29, 1909.
Another example of politically symbolic jewelry is the iron jewelry from 19th century jewelry (shown below left). As Prussia was in an extended war against Napoleon they asked the patriotic citizens to donate their gold jewelry to the national coffers and were given iron jewelry as a replacement, symbolic of their patriotic donation to the war efforts.
The V for Victory Brooch was popular in the USA as WWII started. A laminated three color bar pin top suspends a large carved red V. (center) This original Bakelite pin was most likely red, white and blue but the Bakelite plastic has changed color over time. It is a classic collectible representing political jewelry of the mid-20th century.
What is more symbolic of an individuals allegiance to the anti-war protest movement of the late 1960's than when the peace sign was turned into pendants and earrings. During the 1960's peace sign jewelry (right) was an anti-government protest against the Vietnam war.
Fabricating TRUTH in the news. RESIST!
I am thrilled to say that TRUTH is featured on KQED arts website "100 Days of Trump." (This is San Francisco's PBS station.) Read the post, "Fabricating ‘Truth,’ One Tin Can Bracelet at a Time" based on an interview by Creo Noveno.
Quote from the article "Fabricating ‘Truth,’ One Tin Can Bracelet at a Time":
"But in Truth, the latest addition to her California Collection series, Berman confronts the current administration’s destabilization of the idea of “truth” and examines our own responsibility in this new moral climate. “I’m looking at this word ‘truth’ and I’m here actually, literally fabricating truth – the same way the administration is,”
Alternate Facts and Web of Lies Bracelets (in progress) were both featured on the CNN website "How artists are marking Trump's 100th day in office." This was a totally thrilling opportunity to share my work with a larger audience along side paintings and photography of other political artists.aaa
To put this in perspective, while I marched in the Climate March, and my work is shown on CNN, 45 is visiting my hometown of Harrisburg, Pa. in a "rally" of support for his political agenda. RESIST! Our work is not done.
Bracelets currently under construction for in the TRUTH Fruit Crate display.
Fabricating Alternative Facts Bracelet
The ALTERNATIVE FACTS bracelet started with a drawing for cutting out the metal. This was drawn and redrawn on tracing paper (shown above.) Then it was glued to the recycled tin cans.
The photo left shows the ALTERNATIVE FACTS bracelet in progress (shown in the left animation.) The insubstantial construction of this bracelet is a metaphor for the rhetoric of the 45 administration that is based on lies, and half truths. Each one of the letters is cut from recycled tin cans. Above is the lettering attached to the background shadow.
In the photos below, I am cutting out the top of the bracelet. It is supposed to be a metaphoric "web of lies." The first photo is the beginning of the piercing. Each photo shows further progress.
Each section in the "web of lies" has to be cut out separately. This takes a great deal of time and skill. The threads of the spider web were very thin. I worked on cutting out the spider web in brass for weeks.
Alternative Facets Bracelet in progress. The top is a "web of lies." FACTS is ready to attach to the side.
Alternative Facets Bracelet and the Web of Lies Bracelet (shown above) are almost finished. The top is a spider web. I thought that the "web of lies" would be the bottom, but then changed my mind. I put the spider web on the top, and made a black bottom from black recycled tin cans for better contrast. New photos will be posted in about three days.
These bracelets are taking a very long time to fabricate, close to six months. These bracelets are featured on CNN website: "How artists are marking Trumps's 100th day in office" by Shahar Peled, CNN.
Fabricating the Web of Lies Bracelet
Web of Lies Bracelet was cut from flat brass sheet. I drew the design to make the lettering to look like an abstract web.
Usually, I work exclusively with recycled tin cans, but tins would not have been strong enough to cut away most of the material. In this example, the idea that the 45 administration was a "web of lies" was more important to realize.
After cutting out the "web of lies" graphic, I added a metal frame to add strength to this delicate bracelet. That took weeks in itself to float the "Web of Lies" in the center exactly right. In the photo below, I am soldering on the frame.
Fabricating the Circular Logic Bracelet
Circular Logic was cut out of recycled tin from a "LOST" Game tin three times. It was over 48" long.