Driving across America, perusing random truck stop gift stores and assorted dollar stores, one is struck by the sheer number of tschochkes are available for one to own. All of them seem to have a quintessentially American flavor, and yet, all of them are made for us in other places – China, Mexico, Honduras, anywhere where the labor is cheap enough to create objects that can be considered damned near disposable. Do these objects reflect us? Do they reflect our tastes? Or is it an approximation of how other countries see our tastes, made to appeal to our sensibilities and fit into our desires? They all retain a sense of the familiar, at the very least, and often hint at a sense of who we thought we once were, in better days. Every era has it’s kitsch, as well as nostalgia for a previous era’s kitsch. And the king of that kitsch is the bygone saccharine Americana in which nostalgia and patriotism merge in draconian symbiosis.
These photographs were taken between Spring of 2005 and Fall of 2008. They were taken in truck stops, 99 cent stores, yard sales, thrift shops, and even Coney Island. No tschotchkes were harmed in the making of this book!
Lauri Lynnxe Murphy is an artist and provocateur living in Denver, Colorado. Her work ranges from multi-component painting installations to textiles to fiberglass sculptures, and is primarily concerned with the construction of narrative through random juxtaposed elements. Her recent work has focused on the lived landscape and transgenic species manipulation. Although trained as a painter, her “paintings” have become more sculptural over time, and sometimes don’t even include paint. Called a “one woman art scene” by Denver’s Westword, she is also a curator, writer, and educator, and has owned and managed galleries. You can see more of her work at www.lynnxe.com.