Modern and Contemporary Art
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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
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Artist: Do Ho Suh, South Korean, active in America, born 1962, M.F.A. 1997

Doormat: Home Sweet Home

2003

Polyurethane rubber

2.5 x 97.028 x 64 cm (1 x 38 3/16 x 25 3/16 in.)
Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund
2003.65.1

In his sculptures, Do Ho Suh addresses how the freedom and autonomy presumed and even expected by individuals in the Western world can be undercut by those with greater economic and political power. Individual disenfranchisement or alienation happens quickly when those in positions of authority see only a "faceless" mass of consumers or workers. At first encounter, the American motto "Home Sweet Home" and cheerful palette of Suh's pink-and-kelly-green mat may evoke carefree Western culture: ice cream and sunny summer days. But this is no standard welcome mat. In fact, it is composed of hundreds of tiny cast-rubber figures, suggestive of the laboring masses that enable capitalist production. The dislocation of scale in <EM>Doormat: Home Sweet Home</EM> is also one of proportion; hundreds of arms symbolically uphold the consumer demands of the single, "sweet" household. With this sculpture, Suh has positioned the working classes underfoot yet also on the threshold of privileged consumers.

Culture: 
American
Period: 
21st century
Classification: 
Sculpture
Status: 
On view
Bibliography: 

“Acquisitions 2003,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2004): 157, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.

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