Hindsight is Always 20/20 and What Do YOU say, AMERICA?
Hindsight is Always 20/20 is a politically charged exhibition composed of 43 different prints by R. Luke DuBois. Each print is put together in a similar manner, mimicking the style of eye examination letter charts. As you walk into the gallery, the exhibition starts with a brief description of the exhibit and then begins with a chart on George Washington (the first president) and continues on in sequential order until George W. Bush brings up the rear. What Do YOU say, AMERICA? is a series of lithograph on paper posters from WWI and WWII that were government-issued and also very political. This exhibit is supposed to show us how the government during those two wars used propaganda to target US citizens and influence them to be proactive in the war effort.
DuBois focused on politics for his series and each print was for a specific United States President's State of the Union address. Instead of just using letters (like a eye exam letter chart), he chose dominant words from those addresses and put them in order on the chart by how many times they were used in the speech. Each print gives the audience an overall view of what each president focusing on during that time and/or during their presidency. The exhibition is supposed to embody what the president was trying to say in their speech and what the whole nation should understand about each president's impact. What Do YOU say, AMERICA? was not so much focusing on presidential influences but instead the government as a whole and how they "advertised" the wars. These posters didn't really have a specific place or order like Hindsight is Always 20/20 did. If there was a shared theme between the different posters they were grouped together, or if there was an artist with more than one poster they were put together.
I chose to focus my attention from both exibits on the print "George Walker Bush / 2001-Present" because it is really relevant to our generation and because I never watched the any of his State of the Union addresses. The intensity of Bush's focus on the war and terrorism is unmistakable. I feel like DuBois is also inspired by our nation's fear and blindness of the war and how that impacted the decisions that were made by our government.
I would strongly recommend seeing this to anyone because there is so much that one can learn about each president and their State of the Union address without even knowing anything prior to seeing this exhibit. The concept is really simple but also really educating and I think it's great to have an exhibit like this on campus because I don't think a lot of students know a lot about past presidents. It's a good little history lesson on our country's progress and how each president has either helped or hindered it. It's good for my generation to see What do YOU say, AMERICA? as well because that is what we would have been seeing had we lived in that era. The way the government targeted US citizens is way different now and I think it's important to be aware of history.