- Museum number
- Object: Big Daddy with Hats
Large male figure with a bulldog in his lap wearing a vest made from the American flag, surrounded by various hats including a policeman's hat and a Ku Klux Klan hood, all have tabs with dotted lines relating to cut-out costumes used to clothe paper dolls.1971
Colour screenprint on white wove paper
- Production date
Height: 560 millimetres (image)
Height: 590 millimetres (sheet)
Width: 538 millimetres
Width: 570 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- This impression was lent by the artist to the Museum of Modern Art, New York exhibition 'Committed to Print: Social and Political Themes in Recent American Printed Art', curated by Deborah Wye, 1988. Original MOMA exh. label in P&D files.
Text from Coppel, Daunt and Tallman, 'The American Dream: pop to the present', London: Thames and Hudson in association with the British Museum, 2017, cat. no. 160:
The Big Daddy figure is derived from a photograph that Stevens took of her father, whom she resented for his bigoted attitudes and lack of compassion towards the mental breakdown of her mother. Developed at a time when the artist was actively involved in the anti-war movement, Big Daddy became the incarnation of male, small-minded, middle America. Usually depicted naked and seated, as if enthroned, the smug, authoritarian character is both ridiculous and pathetic. The often-present bulldog, clothed here in a patriotic flag, is derived from an image of an army mascot. In this print Big Daddy is shown surrounded by hats symbolizing figures of male authority and power: the policeman, the riot cop, the executioner, the soldier and the Ku Klux Klansman. Their dotted tabs, like those on a paper doll, suggest that Big Daddy could occupy any of these guises. The print relates closely to the painting 'Big Daddy Paper Doll' (1970), now in the Brooklyn Museum.
In the drawing 'Reversal' (2013,7063.1), Big Daddy and his bulldog have swapped places, suggesting that their bodies are almost interchangeable. Here they are almost literally tied together by the spotted garment in which they are both wrapped. The similarity between their inane expressions and the fleshy folds of their skin makes the imagery more absurd, undermining the authority that Big Daddy represents.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2017 9 Mar-18 Jun, London, BM, G30, The American Dream
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number