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Mr. and Mrs. America

1969 Rex Clawson Born: Dallas, Texas 1933 enamel on wood 20 x 23 7/8 in. (50.8 x 60.7 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Chuck and Jan Rosenak and museum purchase through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment 1997.124.11 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 23B


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Mr. and Mrs. America
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Luce Center Label

Rex Clawson created Mr. and Mrs. America in 1969 to express his anger at the government and the military during the Vietnam War. The badges on the male figure show the branches of the military, while the images on the woman depict state emblems, symbolizing the government. He chose these details to stand for particular people or events associated with the war. For example, the flag of the Lone Star State may represent Lyndon B. Johnson, a Texas native who was president during the worst years of the war, while the warning sign over the woman’s body probably refers to the extensive use of dangerous chemicals such as napalm.

Keywords

Allegory - place - America

Figure female - full length

Figure male - full length

Miscellaneous - decorative motif - geometric

Miscellaneous - emblem

painting

folk art

paint - enamel

wood