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Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, Colorado, USA
November 4, 2016 – June 4, 2017
Danh Võ’s We The People (2010–13) is the artist’s long-term project reconstructing Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi’s Statue of Liberty on a 1:1 scale. Re-creating only the statue’s fragile copper skin —the thickness of two copper pennies— and using the same fabrication technique as the original, Võ’s We The People exists in over 250 pieces. Never intending to assemble the parts into a single sculpture, Võ continues to show the individual pieces worldwide, displaying the different sections in various institutions and sites across fifteen countries to date. In this fragmented state, the work recalls the statue’s original construction prior to its celebrated 1886 unveiling in New York —the torch was displayed in Philadelphia, in 1876, and her head was shown at the Paris Exposition of 1878— while simultaneously revealing the monument’s material and conceptual fragility.
Võ’s exhibition, featuring a singular piece from We The People in the AAM Roof Deck Sculpture Garden, offers an abstract, but intimate opportunity to relate to an iconic monument on a human scale. This is further underscored by the work’s title —the first three words of the United States Constitution’s preamble— allowing us to examine our collective role in the construction of liberty itself.