WATER GATE

  • Miles Burkholder Carpenter, WATER GATE, 1974, carved and painted wood, metal, paper, rubber hose, rubber bands, string, sawdust, and ballpoint pen and ink, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson, 1986.65.237

Luce Center Label
Folk artist Miles Burkholder Carpenter carved WATER GATE in 1974, the same year that Richard Nixon resigned the presidency during the Watergate scandal, which had erupted two years earlier. Like antique toys that use sand or water to activate different mechanisms and create movement, WATER GATE invites the viewer's engagement through its moving parts. At right, Mr. Nixon stands behind a gate, holding copies of his tax returns. On the other side of the gate rest four stacked books made from cut-up copies of Reader's Digest, representing the transcripts of the Watergate hearings. Two pieces of string, when pulled, open the gate and move the president through. The well at left, where buckets carry water along a looped chain, completes the animated work.
Luce Object Quote
"Since there is so much fuss and talk about Water Gate for a year or more I decided to create and put together something that shall be called Water Gate for people to see in reality." The artist, quoted in Miles Carpenter, Cutting the Mustard, 1982
Title
WATER GATE
Artist
Date
1974
Location
Not on view
Dimensions
12 7/8 x 13 3/8 x 12 in. (32.7 x 34.0 x 30.5 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson

Mediums
Mediums Description
carved and painted wood, metal, paper, rubber hose, rubber bands, string, sawdust, and ballpoint pen and ink
Classifications
Keywords
  • Occupation – political – president
  • State of being – evil – imprisonment
Object Number
1986.65.237
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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