'Paternal Suit' Explores Art, History with Fact and Fiction

By McRary, Amy | News Sentinel, August 16, 2015 | Go to article overview

'Paternal Suit' Explores Art, History with Fact and Fiction


McRary, Amy, News Sentinel


Visitors to the Knoxville Museum of Art's upcoming exhibit "The Paternal Suit: Heirlooms from the F. Scott Hess Family Foundation" should think about Picasso and suspend their disbelief.

But at some point they need to be sure they don't get punked.

Picasso said, "We all know that art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize truth, at least the truth that is given us to understand." "The Paternal Suit" uses art to tell a story that may - - or may not -- be completely real.

Throughout the exhibit, Los Angeles-based artist F. Scott Hess invites visitors to discern fact from fiction in an exhibit that incorporates art, history, realistic beauty and stark fabrication.

"The Paternal Suit" opens in both of the museum's main floor galleries on Aug. 21 and will be at the 1050 World's Fair Park museum through Nov. 8. Admission is free.

The exhibit is designed as a visually rich, artifact-filled,

See Exhibit, 12E

400-year history of the colorful ancestors of Hess' father. Hess incorporated real people and historic events with fictional characters and often elaborate, invented stories presented as factual history. As such, "Paternal Suit" asks visitors to question where personal stories end and national history begins as it explores how generations and society are influenced by false history or deceptions.

More than 100 paintings, objects and prints created by Hess are shown as the exhibit's relics and art. The art isn't attributed to Hess but to family members or fictional characters. It's shown as if it is presented by a family foundation.

A story created from real and false history supports the exhibit's art as it continues the story of "Paternal Suit." The personal histories of Hess' ancestors, at times elaborated, fantasized and fictionalized, are set against larger events such as the colonization of America and the Civil War. …

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