<em>Stephanie Syjuco: Rogue States</em>, installation view, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, September 6–December 29, 2019. Photo: Dusty Kessler.
Stephanie Syjuco: Rogue States, installation view, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, September 6–December 29, 2019. Photo: Dusty Kessler.

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Mark Twain is the inspiration for Stephanie Syjuco‘s courtyard installation, To the Person Sitting in Darkness, which takes its design from the author’s bitter suggestion for a flag representing the new Philippine Province in 1901: an American flag re-designed with black stripes rather than white, skull and crossbones rather than stars. Until now, Twain’s flag has never been produced.⁣

Actor Richard Garey, who regularly plays Twain at Hannibal’s Planter’s Barn Theater, brings his portrayal to CAM, giving a perspective of the writer that few audiences ever encounter: the politically engaged, anti-imperialist Mark Twain. For the performance, Garey remains in character from the moment he enters the museum until he exits. He also follows one of Twain’s guiding aphorisms: “The greatest curse is ignorance, and its only cure is humor.”

Support for this program is provided by Missouri Humanities as part of their commitment to a more thoughtful, informed, and civil society.