At the End of the Day, We all Sit on the Same Throne
Part of the Socratic Dialogue Series. Created for solo exhibition at the Parthenon Museum in Nashville, TN
To have no wants is divine.
Socrates asserted that an indifference to material pleasures leads to happiness, that self-control rather than self-indulgence brings fulfillment. America’s reputation is that of a land of excess: obesity, materialism, and greed, and in today’s society the word temperance is most often associated with alcohol consumption. What if America were to collectively reject self-indulgence and join a program like Alcoholics Anonymous? This flagship of twelve-step programs established itself as a safe place by allowing a certain degree of anonymity, using only first names. America might walk into an AA meeting, fill out a name tag, stand up and say, “My name is America and I am intemperate.”
The painting “What is Temperance?” was created for a K. Llamas solo exhibition for the Parthenon Museum in 2013, where it hung for 4 months. The work was inspired by a local dialogue of Nashvillians, where the artist and host asked the question, “What is Temperance?” The focus of the responses began to fall heavily on the excessive behavior and demands that American families have for goods and luxuries. In these changing times, have we met the tipping point where it is time to simplify and scale back? Or will our enthusiasm for consumption continue? Regarding the country and society as a whole, do we exhibit temperance? What is Temperance?