A CHILD’S MACHIAVELLI
Curated by Beatrice Books
December 12th–December 16th, 2019
Opening: Thursday, Dec 12th, 6–9pm
Thursday - Monday, 11am–7pm
325 Canal Street, New York City
Wallplay is pleased to host the newest edition of Claudia Hart’s A Child’s Machiavelli, published by Beatrice Books and edited by Patrick Reynolds. The original 1998 Penguin edition has been redesigned in collaboration with the author, and will be available for purchase on December 1st, 2019 through Amazon Books.
A Child’s Machiavelli was initially written and illustrated by Hart in 1995, inspired by Niccolo Machiavelli’s Renaissance treatise, The Prince, long considered the first book of political philosophy. Hart’s version began as a series of oil paintings and small catalog, produced by the Realismus Studio, at the Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst, Berlin, 1995.
The catalog was eventually republished as an expanded hardcover by Penguin USA in 1998, and later in German and French editions. While keeping to the meaning of the original, Hart rewrote The Prince reflecting street values and the voice of youth culture - as if Machiavelli’s book, meant to advise kings on seizing power was a primer to teach good manners to small children. The book has proven prescient, uncannily prefiguring the brutal tenor of contemporary US public discourse.
Hart’s strategy reflected those embraced by the 1990s art world. Mimicking the visuals of a picture book, Hart appropriated 1920s children’s illustrations known for their sugary sweetness. The irony and twisted humor of A Child’s Machiavelli is derived from its combination of opposites: the saccharine speech of kiddie books and the unvarnished reality of American politics. The book went out of print in 2000, but continues to be traded on the second- hand book market. Both the artist and Beatrice Books enthusiastically welcome this new edition.
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