My grandmother—we called her Mama Dear—loved the iconic violets that adorned the shopping bags of Bonwit Teller. The graphic bouquets covered hatboxes, scarves and umbrellas, suggesting a quiet and graceful elegance that still lingers in my memory and triggers thoughts of the dynamic matriarch of our family. Her motto was "love makes the world go round".
In 1980, Bonwit Teller's flagship store on Fifth Avenue was bought and demolished by Donald Trump to make way for Trump Tower. Ignoring a request from the Metropolitan Museum of Art to save the historic Deco reliefs on the building's facade, the real estate developer opted to have the sculptures jackhammered to save himself time and money.
So this project began as a studio exercise as I processed my thoughts concerning the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. I see the bouquet of violets as a symbolic reminder of what can be lost from rash and uninformed decisions, without consideration of the past or future. In response, I am donating 100% of the profits from the violet prints to The Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization dedicated to hope and justice.
For Further Reading: