Phillip Toledano

America the Giftshop

January 24 – March 29, 2009

If American foreign policy had a gift shop, what would it sell?

AMERICA THE GIFT SHOP is an installation project that reflects the current foreign policy in the fun-house mirror of American commerce.

My palette is the vernacular of retail tourism. The more familiar it is, the better host it becomes for the idea. Once the sugar coating of the ordinary dissolves, we are left with the grim truth about where we’ve been as a nation.
We buy souvenirs at the end of a trip, to remind ourselves of the experience.

What do we have to remind us of the events of the last eight years?

We have all seen a disfigurement of the things that made America more than a country, but an idea. Even now, in our joy at the prospect of new and hopeful beginning, we need to remember the past. It’s the only way this little experiment in democracy will evolve.

– Phillip Toledano, 2009

Phillip Toledano’s work has been exhibited in New York, Europe, and Asia including solo shows at Colette and Annina Nosei Gallery in NYC and group shows at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, California; the Photobiennale of Thessaloniki, Greece; and Miami Art Space. Two monographs of his work have been published: Bankrupt: Photographs of Recently Vacated Offices (Twin Palms, 2005) and Phone Sex (Twin Palms, 2008). A third, Days with My Father, will be published in 2009. Toledano’s photography has appeared on the pages of such publications as The New York Times Magazine, Interview, Vanity Fair, Le Monde, The London Times, Details, GQ and Esquire. Born and raised in London, Toledano is the son of a French-Moroccan mother and an American Father. He is a graduate of Tufts University in Massachusetts. He currently lives and works in NYC.