San Francisco

Donna Ruff, Senate, 2019, burned paper, 10 1⁄2 × 8". From the series “The Federalist Papers Undone,” 2019–.

Donna Ruff, Senate, 2019, burned paper, 10 1⁄2 × 8". From the series “The Federalist Papers Undone,” 2019–.

Donna Ruff

Jack Fischer Gallery | Minnesota Street Project

America’s founding fathers have been invoked with increasing frequency in recent political debates. In particular, their Federalist Papers—a collection of eighty-five essays that Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison penned in the late 1780s to encourage the ratification of the US Constitution—have been cited by both the right and the left to support wildly divergent readings of the Constitution, especially the Bill of Rights. The eminent statesmen have also played a prominent role in popular culture (in the form of Hamilton, the musical) as well as in the recent impeachment, a process described in the early years of our republic as a crucial element of the government’s system of checks and balances, designed to prevent a despotic president from triggering another revolution.

In her series “The Federalist Papers Undone,” 2019–, Donna Ruff remakes passages from the essays,

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