As part of our ongoing series of artist talks from Tours of Duty, we are pleased to present an evening with Allison Stewart discussing her series Bug Out Bags: The Commodification of American Fear.
Join us Tuesday December 1st at 7pm Eastern online in the Griffin Zoom Room for a conversation about Allison’s creativity and path to creating the series included in our exhibition Tours of Duty.
The event is FREE for Griffin Members, and $12 for Non Members. Not a member? Join us for great programming and events like this and support the Griffin.
Bug Out Bags: The Commodification of American Fear
Hurricanes. Earthquakes. Superstorms. War. Martial Law. The Rapture. The Zombie Apocalypse. Bug Out Bags are manifestations of the fears and obsessions of the 21st Century American. The Bug Out Bag is the most basic piece of gear for disaster preparedness. It is usually a backpack or an easy to carry duffel bag containing the essentials needed to sustain life for 72 hours, or to possibly begin a new civilization. As I traveled the different regions of the United States I met liberals and conservatives, atheists, evangelicals, Catholics, and Mormons. They are prepared and they are prepared to help others. Each bag becomes a portrait of its owner, showing us their most basic needs and also their fears in the face of environmental and global change. The contents reflect the survivalist instincts and character of each owner. Everyone I meet tells me that preparedness is a necessity in Post 9/11 America. They are eager to discuss their fears, share tips and some even share their resources. Most are community minded but some are fiercely independent. Independence is a fundamental principle when describing the American character. We praise the self-reliant man and credit him for the shining city upon the hill, but America has changed and our fears are running rampant. The new self-reliant American no longer experiences transcendence in nature as Thoreau once did, but instead, escapes to nature in an effort to hoard and protect property. Prepping has become a capitalist enterprise, banking on our fears and desires for stability.
About Allison Stewart
Allison Stewart grew up in Houston, Texas and currently lives in Los Angeles, CA. She received her MFA in Photography from California State University Long Beach and her BFA in Painting with a minor in Art History from the University of Houston. Allison travels the United States exploring the construction of American identity through its relics, rituals, and mythologies. Her work has been published and exhibited internationally, including Cortona On The Move, the Aperture Foundation, The Wright Museum, The New Mexico History Museum, The Griffin Museum of Photography, The New Republic, Die Zeit, Wired, Mother Jones, and Vogue Italia. Her work has been honored by the Magenta Foundation, IPA, the Texas Photographic Society, and the Houston Center for Photography. Her work is included in the Rubell Family Collection, The New Mexico History Museum Palace of the Governors Photo Archive, the University of Wisconsin Alumni Association, and private collections. Allison is a founding member of the Association of Hysteric Curators.
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