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Miles Burkholder Carpenter
WATER GATE
1974
painted wood and metal with paper and found objects
12 7/8 x 13 3/8 x 12 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson



In 1974 Carpenter decided to create his own version of the Watergate episode that had led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon. He started with an old water wheel toy. Then, he said, "I made the figure of a man carrying papers under his arm mounted on a platform.… When you pull two strings the gate opens and the man walks through. Release the string and it all comes back again."