Artworks
First Lady (Pat Nixon)
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In the collage, First Lady (Pat Nixon), Martha Rosler depicts Pat Nixon (aka “Plastic Pat”) as the picture of ignorance on the night of her husband’s inauguration.

But Pat was a sneaky lady and there is much more to her than meets the eye.It is commonly known that Pat and Richard  met while auditioning for a play, but Pat kept up the acting throughout her husband’s long and mortifying political career. She posed as the perfect housewife, electing to do all of her own housework, despite having so much staff in the White House (ugh, why?). But on the inside, she was much more badass than that. She was the first First Lady to enter a combat zone, traveled the most extensively of any First Lady until Hillary Clinton, and opted for visits to orphanages and hospitals over teas and fashion shows. She was pro-choice and supported the Equal Rights Amendment and women in politics, saying, “woman power is unbeatable; I've seen it all across this country.” In the Pat-Richard relationship, Pat was definitely the powerhouse. 

But obviously Rosler sees her a little differently. The entire photograph being gilded is a not-so-subtle hint at the wealth and power of the United States president and First Lady. Not to mention the portrait over the fireplace of the Vietnamese woman covered in what looks like blood rather than a picture of a past president or the Nixon daughters. Rosler pokes at a seemingly too compliant Mrs. Nixon who shouldn’t have put up with all of her husband’s little shenanigans...like Watergate. 

 

Sources

Sources

  1. Curtis, Charlotte. "Pat Nixon: 'Creature Comforts Don't Matter'". The New York Times. N.p., 1968. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.
  2. Viohst, Judith. "Pat Nixon Is The Ultimate Good Sport". Nytimes.com. N.p., 1970. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.
  3. "Whitney Museum Of American Art: Martha Rosler: First Lady (Pat Nixon)". Collection.whitney.org. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.