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People tend to turn to Washington and look for his image during trying times such as Washington’s own death in 1799 and during the Civil War in the 1860s as well as in times of celebration at the Centennial of the United States in 1876, and the Bicentennial of Washington’s birth in 1932. The successful visual promotion of Washington to his public was adopted by the presidents who followed as they sought visual presence before the public.By Abraham Lincoln’s time from 1861 to 1865, photographs like paintings less than a century before became the vehicle for showing the president at work. In each, the president is seated, his wife and children surrounding him, a grouping that reflects the 19th-century’s idealization of domestic life and that society’s desire to see its leaders as moral men.The wooden horse soars 22 feet high in the center of the exhibition and is illuminated from within.For Frohawk followers, favorite characters reappear, too, among them Bonnie Prince Johnnie and his flamboyant general Orlande, Duc du Rouen, who “admidst his shit-colored crew was a gilded peacock with sapphires for eyes.” Umar Rashid (Frohawk Two Feathers), an Illinois native who now lives and works in Los Angeles, California, first studied photography, film, and writing at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.Named for the war machine with which the ancient Greeks surprised the Trojans, Frohawk’s horse holds some surprises of its own — it sports two heads and is filled with warriors from both sides of the quarrel.Glass figures, they are fragile and exhausted from the wars.The city’s first denizens, the Dutch, are “has beens,” unwillingly departed from the city they called New Amsterdam, and now skirmishing with their Iroquois allies in the Hudson Valley nearby to the north.
Jimmy Kuehnle’s inflatables are exciting art form and witty commentary on our interests and enthusiasms.The landscapes of three artists, Jasper Cropsey, Asher Durand, and James Renwick Brevoort, paintings on view at the Museum, inspired Frohawk’s scenic work for this exhibition, which also include almost a dozen new pieces among them .Also new to Frohawk’s story and the Hudson Valley is a Trojan Horse.His recent solo exhibitions include the Wadsworth Athenaeum (Hartford, CT), Wellin Museum of Art (Clinton, NY), the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey (Summit, NJ), the Nevada Museum of Art (Reno, NV), and the Museum of Contemporary Art (Denver, CO). The fully illustrated catalog that accompanies the exhibition explores Frohawk’s work and contains the full narrative of this final episode, the fifth and last in his series We look for our president in paintings, photographs, and sculpture, where we may see him as a warrior, family man, or a man of faith.The exhibition is organized by the Hudson River Museum and curated its Deputy Director Bartholomew F. Washington, the nation’s first soldier and president, is the prototype for political promotion, too.