"Above the Fruited Plain (America! America!)" Johannah Herr June 5 - 11, 2022
Artist Statement: Above the Fruited Plain (America! America!) is centered around the violent legacy of American intervention—corporate and military—in Central America and the Caribbean. Subverting traditional home goods of tufted area rugs and wallpaper, the installation calls attention to the violences that haunt US domestic bliss, whether we are conscious of it or not.
The floors are covered by two machine-tufted rugs, Bitter Fruit I and II. Titled after the 1982 Stephen Schlesinger book by the same name which describes the history of US state-sponsored violence through the Central American banana industry, each rug depicts a banana dripping in blood. The graphic quality of the blood stands in unsettling contrast to the plush texture of the rugs meant to bring warmth to a domestic space. The maximalist wallpaper--Dictator Wallpaper—combines banana illustrations scanned from a 1940’s Chiquita Banana recipe book with graphic 1960’s patterning to subvert the images of 36 violent right-wing dictators in Central America/ the Caribbean. Each dictator oversaw a repressive regime that was backed by the US government from the inception of the United Fruit Company in 1899 through the 1990’s.