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1987 Mike Wilkins Born: Durham, North Carolina 1959 painted metal on vinyl and wood 96 x 96 in. (243.8 x 243.8 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Nissan Motor Corporation in U.S.A. 1988.39 Smithsonian American Art Museum
1st Floor, North Wing

Artwork Description

In a show of American ingenuity, Mike Wilkins utilized a collection of vanity license plates to phonetically spell out the preamble to the US Constitution in abbreviated script. All fifty states and the District of Columbia are represented in alphabetical order. Though the plates rarely make sense on their own, together they re-create one of the greatest documents in American history. This work represents the meaning of the phrase "the United States" with a fun twist.

Smithsonian American Art Museum: Commemorative Guide. Nashville, TN: Beckon Books, 2015.


Architecture - vehicle - detail

History - United States - Constitution