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Anthony Drennen

Artist Statement Submitted 2017

Since 2008 I have organized my studio practice around Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens, the only one of his plays not performed in his lifetime. I chose a “failed” work because the play’s obscurity creates unpoliced cultural bandwidth that I can occupy without incident. For each character in the play I produce a distinct body of work based on contemporary associations, resulting in a collection of related pieces composed of separately considered parts. Timon of Athens is a corrupted text of indeterminate history, questionable sources, and a dubious relationship to the respected canon. That is to say, it mirrors my own position in the art world perfectly. I have worked on this project for eight years and I anticipate working on it another decade, or until I address the full cast of the play. At the end, the asymmetry between Shakespeare’s reputation and my own will likely remain intact. But there will come a time when Timon of Athens will be known as mine instead of his.

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