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The history of the United States is so far is bookended by political and technological revolution. An American Revolution Revolution explores eighteenth century American painting and portraiture in the context of twenty-first century lexicons–Facebook status updates, tweets, and texting acronyms.

The American Revolution started with a few well-formed ideas exchanged in person and by handwritten letter. Imagine what George & Co. could have done with the Internet. Or not.

Technology influences what we know and what we believe, as well as how quickly and intelligently we convey our ideas. But does how we communicate govern the value of what we communicate? The physical act of typing very fast on small devices has changed our relationship to spelling, grammar, punctuation, and literacy.

We are so obsessed with tweets, likes, pins, and status updates that we feel deprived when we can’t log in. We are enslaved by our smart devices, computers, and social networking sites as if by a distant king.

Well-worn are the theories that advancing technology isolates us more, not less, and it is easy to idealize centuries-past life as simpler, more civil, more intelligent and, ironically, more connected.

We live in a very different time than our Founding Fathers did, and we hold very different priorities. Has the complacency of our political freedom blinded us to the potential our ancestors fought for?

Shawn Huckins is a visual artist based in Denver, Colorado. Starting this spring, he will be showing works in the traveling exhibition Eye On The Storm. Curated by Dominick Lombardi, the exhibition will start at The Bob Rauschenberg Gallery in Fort Myers before moving to The Housatonic Museum in Bridgeport, CT.

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