Stefan Gougherty, Boom Brooch, 2020
Amidst the booms of fireworks, billowing American flags at car dealerships and red-white-and-blue junk food packaging, Fourth of July 2020 was nauseating at best. Recent events have reminded us, the engines of this country are geared for billionaires—while the exhaust pipes of capitalism are shoved down the throats of ordinary citizens. Sickened by all of this lip service toward America’s greatness, the symbol of an exploding firecracker seemed the perfect metaphor for the irony and volatility of our patriotism. This star-and-striped hollow shell of stainless steel, torn to shreds in the midst of explosion is a short lived façade of empty promises—similar to what is experienced during the run-up toward an election. Split in two like our democracy, we are intentionally divided to fight each other—instead of the system. Seductive yet destructive (but totally safe to wear), I hope this colorful brooch will turn heads as it is worn and remind those who see it that our nation is deeply flawed and we can do better. From local offices to the White House, let your voices be heard!