VISIT | EXHIBITION
The Paternal Suit: Heirlooms from the F. Scott Hess Family Foundation
The Paternal Suit consists of over 100 paintings, prints, and objects created by Hess, but presented as legitimate historical artifacts, and supported by photographs, documents, and historical ephemera. Each object and artwork bears an artist’s name and detailed provenance and has been executed in the style of the century from which it supposedly originates. Sculpture, ceramics, furniture, toys, newspaper clippings, historic photographs, guns, and costumes advance the story. Hess does not claim authorship for the works on display. Instead, he ascribes to them fictional artists, referring to himself as the Director of the “F. Scott Hess Family Foundation.”
The exhibition follows Hessʼs ancestral lineage from 17th century England to the Puritan settlements of South Carolina and Georgia, where family members became key players in the War Between the States (1860–65). Through the prism of his ancestry, Hess examines the impact of false history and deception within each generation and throughout society as a whole, and questions the authority of these perceived “truths.” The ultimate subtext for the installation, which traces the trajectory of the Iverson, Patton, Nolan, and Hess family lines, is the seven-year old artist’s abandonment by his own father after a parental divorce.
F. Scott Hess 1955