This handmade art piece, a limited series of ten, includes 58 logos of mass-market retailers, fast food chains and other corporations that participate in the creation of the contemporary North American identity and condition. Iconic North American brands such as these give us both comfort and identity, yet we feel ambivalent or even negative toward their hegemony over our cultural and economic landscape. It is the problematic balance between familiarity and alienation which this quilt seeks to examine.
With today’s increasingly fractured social fabric, it is now brands that give us a feeling of collective identity, heritage, and continuity, gradually taking over the role that family and cultural heritage once held. Our identities are no longer defined by our ancestors and our traditions so much as by multinational corporations who shape our personas through advertising and product placement. The traditional American quilt serves as a living family document, surrounding us both physically and emotionally with the events and the people who came before us. This quilt forces us to question the cultural legacy we are passing along to the next generation.
Joel Yatscoff states, “…this is a very topical product that questions the effects of consumerism in North America. We were very interested in playing with the dichotomy between the comfort and suspicions brands produce. Throughout North American history, quilts have had a tradition of stitching together family history so it seemed to us a natural medium to document these shifting cultural values.”