Abe's Traveling Log Cabin, 2008
11 x 11 inches on 13 x 13 inch paper
Signed Edition of 50
(United States, b. 1955)
The photographs in Greta Pratt’s ongoing series Using History scrutinize how perceptions of history—and specifically, American history—are affected by individual experience and notions of patriotism, nostalgia, and community. Pratt depicts historic sites, reenactments, and museums with an eye to how locals and tourists alike interact with them today, capturing with warmth and wit the overlap of past and present. This image, which features an Abraham Lincoln impersonator stepping into an RV painted to look like a log cabin, hints at the updating of historical tropes for a new era. At the same time, it provides a playful metaphor for how particular historical narratives are mobilized and ultimately proliferate within a culture.
Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1987, Pratt holds a BFA in photography and sculpture from the University of Minnesota (1984) and an MFA in intermedia design from SUNY New Paltz (2005). Her photographs are in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American Art, Washington, DC; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Madison Art Center, Wisconsin; and Minneapolis Institute of Art, and others. Her photographs have been published in the New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine,Spin, and Mother Jones. Pratt is the author of two books, Using History (Steidl, 2005) and In Search of the Corn Queen (National Museum of American Art, 1994).