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Hindsight is Always 20/20

Amber Orcutt
Gallery Visit
Hindsight is Always 20/20

There have been forty-one presidents who have given State of the Union addresses. Each address states some of the same things, usually saying something about how the United States of America will become a better place and these are the problems that we are facing. However, though they are similar in concept, these speeches are radically different depending on the president and the time the speech was made.

This idea is shown in “Hindsight is Always 20/20�, an exhibition of prints made by R. Luke DuBois that had been arranged to follow the perimiter of the gallery in chronological order. These forty-one prints each focus on each president’s speech, narrowing each one down to sixty-six words that are then sorted by how often each word is said to create a look similar to an eye chart. For example, Abraham Lincoln’s starts with “EMANCIPATION� and continues with words such as “proclamation�, “and “colored�. These words reflect what was going on at the time.

The one work in the exhibition that I chose to write about was the chart for George W. Bush, simply because I know and remember the events that he spoke about in his State of the Union address. I found that many of the words spoken in this speech were rather negative, starting with “TERROR� and continuing with “Iraq�, “Hussein�, “Terrorist�, and “Murder�, among others. In a way, this piece put in perspective the hardships that our country has gone through while he was president.

I would definitely recommend that a friend visit this exhibition. It is perhaps just as interesting to us, the viewers, as it must have been to DuBois while he was creating these pieces. It’s remarkable how much about the time and president is reflected in the State of the Union speech. It is a thought-provoking exhibition that is both historical and artistic, and definitely worth a few minutes of one’s time.