Museum  April 25, 2018  Megan D Robinson

Jono Vaughan’s Memorial “Project 42” Comes to SAM

© Seattle Art Museum. Photo: Natali Wiseman. 

Installation view of Project 42: Jono Vaughan at the Seattle Art Museum. 

Currently on view at the Seattle Art Museum, three garments from Jono Vaughan’s ongoing series "Project 42" combine beautifully crafted, often elaborate clothing with performance art in a passionate, bittersweet memorial for murdered transgender individuals. Created to raise awareness of the violence faced by transgender people, the artist plans to create 42 of these memorials, referencing the shorter average lifespans of transgender people. Using images from Google Earth, Vaughan digitally manipulates photos of the location of a murder, creating a colorful, abstract textile print, using the resulting fabric to sew a unique memorial garment. The patterns often symbolically reference the age and accomplishments of the victim, integrating numbers and text that were significant in the victim’s life. Vaughan’s garments are worn by collaborators in performances that memorialize, celebrate, and comment on the victims’ lives. The richness and beauty of the garments and the movements of the collaborators contrast with the tragic loss of human potential, drawing attention to one and many lives cut short.

Installation view of Project 42: Jono Vaughan at the Seattle Art Museum. 
© Seattle Art Museum. Photo: Natali Wiseman.

Installation view of Project 42: Jono Vaughan at the Seattle Art Museum. 

Installation view of Project 42: Jono Vaughan at the Seattle Art Museum. 
© Seattle Art Museum. Photo: Natali Wiseman.

Installation view of Project 42: Jono Vaughan at the Seattle Art Museum. 

Installation view of Project 42: Jono Vaughan at the Seattle Art Museum. 
© Seattle Art Museum. Photo: Natali Wiseman.

Installation view of Project 42: Jono Vaughan at the Seattle Art Museum.

Installation view of Project 42: Jono Vaughan at the Seattle Art Museum.
© Seattle Art Museum. Photo: Natali Wiseman.

Installation view of Project 42: Jono Vaughan at the Seattle Art Museum.

Installation view of Project 42: Jono Vaughan at the Seattle Art Museum. 
© Seattle Art Museum. Photo: Natali Wiseman.

Installation view of Project 42: Jono Vaughan at the Seattle Art Museum. 

Vaughan has exhibited nationally and internationally in both solo and group exhibitions, including The Henry Art Gallery and the Minnesota Museum of American Art. Vaughan has received grants for a variety of visual art projects from The National Performance Artist and Visual Artist Network, Art Matters Foundation, and the Pollination Project. Vaughan won the Seattle Art Museum’s 2017 Betty Bowen Award. She teaches Fine Art at Bellevue College and works in Seattle, WA.

Project 42 is on view at SAM April 21–August 5, 2018. For more information, visit http://www.seattleartmuseum.org

About the Author

Megan D Robinson

Megan D Robinson writes for Art & Object and the Iowa Source.