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the new order
an art/book by Paul Trachtman
"Vanities, insanities and the faking of America."
Who are we? America since its birth has answered that question with lies and inventions, not remembering who we have been, not worrying about who we would be. The land of the free is the home of amnesia. And of fear. In 1841, our founding philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson, saw through our “self-reliance” and warned “We are afraid of truth, afraid of fortune, afraid of death, and afraid of each other.”
Out of these fears we get the society we deserve, as in the choice of our 45th President. He was made in America. America is made of him still.
The drawings in this book, made of our present moment, are haunted by Emerson’s words. We are still living in that American purgatory. We will be trapped in it until we can look at each other and see ourselves.
I look at America now and think of the artists who, in other times and places, were not afraid of truth. In the darkest times they have drawn our faces, our gestures, showing us who we are. I have tried here to pick up their pen.