The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum is pleased to present Danh Vo’s We the People (detail) as part of the Main Street Sculpture series, which offers an opportunity for artists to create site-specific work for The Aldrich’s most public site, the front lawn. This sculpture will be on view December 4, 2018, to May 15, 2019.
Danh Vo’s sculpture We the People (detail) is one of 250 individual parts of the artist’s 1:1 replica of the Statue of Liberty. Vo’s segmented version, however, was never intended to be assembled; rather, the artist’s intent is to allow the viewer to experience the world-famous icon on a human scale, and to reflect on the idea of liberty from multiple perspectives. Made using repoussé (hammered metal), the same technique employed by the French sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi to create the original statue in 1876, the individual parts of Vo’s segmented version have been dispersed around the world and have to date been exhibited in more than fifteen countries.
We the People brings together a host of historical and cultural references. While the Statue of Liberty was produced by French craftsmen as a gift from France to the United States, with the site, pedestal, and erection paid for by American citizens, Vo’s We The People was conceived in Germany, fabricated in Shanghai, and funded by the artist’s French gallery and collectors in Europe, Asia, and the United States. In 1979, when Vo was four years old, his family fled Vietnam in a homemade boat and were rescued at sea by a Danish freighter; they eventually settled in Denmark, where he grew up. His early life as a refugee and his assimilation into European culture are reflected in Vo’s art, while his reimagining of the Statue of Liberty takes on increased urgency in our current moment in time, where immigration and refugee crises have become issues of both national and worldwide debate.
Danh Vo was born in Vietnam in 1975; he lives and works in Berlin, Germany, and Mexico City.
PLEASE DO NOT CLIMB ON THE SCULPTURE!
We the People (detail), 2011