oversized knitted Phrygian hat is placed on a gate pole
on the side of a trail at the Djerassi Property. It appears
incidental as if someone lost it on the trail and another
hiker put it up on the gate to be found again. From far
the red color contrasts with the surrounding landscape,
especially with blue sky.
The work is refering to the historical role of Phrygian
caps as a sign of revolution and protest. Adapted from the
French revolution as a symbol of liberty, it became popular
during the American revolution to put up poles in public
space that would carry a red Phrygian or liberty cap on
top. This happened throughout the Americas in the late 18th
century to signify a dissent against the British. Images
of these liberty poles can be found on historical images,
coins and flags (see images). Interesting contemporary adaptions
of the Phrygian cap in popular culture are the garden gnome
and papa smurf.
As the hat is also ressembling the jesters‘s hat it
may also refer to the liberty of the fool as well as of
the artist to speak out critical truths, and through the
position at the gate as a „trickster“ –
in the sense of Lewis Hyde, a boundary-crosser.