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experimental beds

experimental beds

Rotunda Upper West Oval Room
January 18 – September 27, 2018

Aboriginal Australian artist Judy Watson incorporated Thomas Jefferson’s architectural drawings of the Rotunda, Pavilions III and VII and plants from his “experimental beds” at Monticello in this suite of six etchings. The title also alludes to Jefferson’s long-term relationship with an enslaved woman named Sally Hemings. The union between a white man and a black woman parallels Watson’s own family in Australia.

“I often deal with concealed histories, revealing them and removing the whitewash... Having learned something of Jefferson’s history, interwoven with relationships with his white family and African-American enslaved women and children also considered to be part of his blood family, I decided to use [Jefferson’s] architectural drawings as the bones for a series of works that investigated these relationships.” – Judy Watson