William Fulbrecht: Bill of Rights and Seeds

About the Exhibition

Bill of Rights by William Fulbrecht (b.1951, Cleveland, OH) is made of ten text-inscribed, concrete markers, each 34” x 34”x 30”. They are arranged in five groups of two. Each of the five arrangements of markers was originally sited in Lower Manhattan locations near those institutions that are mandated to implement, interpret, and protect our civil rights. The text was inferred from the first ten Amendments to the Constitution. In Bill of Rights, Fulbrecht has written a series of statements that challenge viewers to investigate pressing issues and related Supreme Court rulings. The text raises issues such as right to privacy, fair trial, and freedom of expression.

Fulbrecht aimed to pair the statements “to resemble a conversation, and although they can be read as statements of fact according to the Constitution, they may also be seen as expression of opinion. It is this sense of ambiguity which I hope to exploit in the piece. As we are continually witnessing in today’s political headlines, the Bill of Rights is an extremely pliable document which is subject to constant interpretation. What one group of citizens may regard as an inviolable right is considered a crime by another. By placing these statements on markers sited in highly visible locations I am seeking to create a confrontational situation in which the viewer is asked to challenge assumptions about how our political system guarantees our civil liberties.”

Seeds is a sculptural installation that focuses on the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument in Fort Greene Park and its relationship to the surrounding community. The piece consists of twelve cast-iron markers onto which the artist engraved a narrative text. The markers are placed adjacent to the low curb that defines the courtyard surrounding the monument. The text the artist wrote references the monument, which pays homage to the solidarity of American prisoners during war by describing the individual roles adopted by those engaged in any struggle for personal or political freedom. Fulbrecht omitted any reference in the text to a specific time or event. He explained, “by omitting [these details], I am seeking to blur the distinction between past and present. Because of this, the viewer must consider not only the relation of the text to historical events, but its relation to their own life and the life of the community as well.”



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