We Are All Equal

By Audrey Annastasya

In the worlds of the famous and infamous, we see their lives put centre stage for all to gaze at. In so many ways, we have become obsessed with every facet of their day-to-day. This is even more amplified in our modern world of social media. But even before we were all addicted to our phones, we hounded and followed them 24/7, almost as if we owned a part of them. Find out more in We Are All Equal.

Yet, for some of these people, whether famous or infamous, after their passing, some can be easily forgotten. Meanwhile, for others, the pace of intrigue follows, and the obsession sometimes even builds as if there is no rest in both life and death.

Scott Covert, Blue Cacophony With Two
Dean Martins, 2012-2014, Collection of Anna

In reality, of course, we are all equal in death; death is, after all, the equaliser and the grave acts as a marker for both loved ones and fans. From highly decorative to plain and simple, it has become the ‘public note’ of a life lived.

Scott Covert, I Had A Wonderful Life, 1997-
2020, Collection of Diane L. Ackerman

Think of mega-famous stars that have passed such as Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson, and Judy Garland, to name but a few.  In life, cameras followed and eyes wandered ‘all over them’, from their romantic lives to the kinds of shoes they chose to wear on any particular day. But now, despite their undeniable legacy, they are just like everyone else who has gone before them, buried in peace.   

This death marker of stone is treated with reverence by some and ignored by others. The gravestone; a piece of rock, sediment, or stone to commemorate a life, one well-known or perhaps not. Some colourful decorative extravagant, others plain.

Scott Covert, Valerie Solanas, 2021,
Collection of Matthew Higgs and Anne Collier

In his ongoing London exhibition commissioned by Studio Voltaire, Scott Covert proves exactly this. For almost forty years, Covert has focused on evolving his series of Monument paintings: rendered rubbings of gravestones in chalk, oil stick, or charcoal on canvas and paper. Covert’s works have a heavy emphasis on commemorating famous figures, including Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, as well as the more infamous characters like Warhol favourites Candy Darling and Edie Sedgwick. In many of pieces, Covert combines different famous people coming from a variety of identity backgrounds: for example, Johnny Cash and Sammy Davis Jr. are put side by side, one with whiteness as a privilege, and the other without, in another finding infamous drag artist and actress Candy Darling with an established society lady Brooke Russell Astor. Surely, these add ins make the point even stronger.

“The gravestone functions like the plate for a printing press. The pieces are about being there, making the visit,”

Scott Covert

Maybe the gravestone for most is the point of memorial, but Covert has offered a new take on memorials. Unlike the Warholian versions of a tribute through the celebration of one’s legacy, Covert is in turn celebrating the mundaneness of life and death, the quality in many ways that only death can bring. To Covert, after all, this memento mori proves that in death, we are all equal.

Visit Studio Voltaire’s site here.

Learn more about Scott Covert here.

If you enjoyed We Are All Equal, why not read Garden of Simple.

.Cent Magazine London, Be inspired, Get involved

Verified by MonsterInsights