32. Sam Durant

 SAM DURANT (b. 1961, Seattle, Washington) EVERYONES DESERVES A DREAM, Screenprint on translucent film, light box, Ed. 12 of 25 2018, The Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art, Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College, Gift of Barbara ’68 and Theodore ’68 Alfond, 2018.1.16.



Artist Sam Durant was born in Seattle, Washington in 1961, though he grew up in coastal Massachusetts. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Art and a Master’s degree from the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. Then, he earned a Master of Fine Art of from the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California.


Created in 2018, Everyone Deserves a Dream is a multimedia piece consisting of a translucent screen print attached to a light box. The title reiterates the words we see printed on a bright red background that were appropriated from protest signs the artist observes in newspapers and media sources.


Durant carefully chooses the protest slogans he uses in his work. He has stated, “The texts I represent in the lightbox signs are chosen for their timeless and placeless qualities, precisely so they can resonate in many different registers, from the mundane to the more serious or possibly even poetic or profound.”


Although the text has been removed from its original context, “Everyone deserves a dream” takes on new meaning by using a medium that evokes advertisement and commercial signage. It is an idyllic statement and a powerful message. At the same time, it can be read as overtly political--it relates so much to our contemporary political climate--and, it is also affirmative.


Furthermore, this piece, and others like it, draws upon established modernist practices like the stark, monochromatic background and conceptualist word art. However, Durant pushes beyond these artistic conventions by showcasing phrases that are inundated with emotion and intimacy.