Would; Could; Should

Suzanne McClelland American
Printer Jennifer Melby
Publisher Diane Villani Editions American

Not on view

Suzanne McClelland has explored the use, sound and appearance of language in its various forms and contexts. The words she engages in prints, paintings, installations, and drawings may be written or spoken, official or conversational, anonymous or credited, refined or vulgar, to name only a few of the many circumstances that alter language’s ability to function as a method of communication. For Would/Could/Should, McClelland lifted fragments of conversation, each of which occurred between unmarried mothers and their teenage daughters in videotaped conversation held in her studio in 2000, and translated them into the images featured on the prints. The artist filmed each mother and daughter pair having a private dialogue based on three questions; McClelland then transcribed sections, omitting large passages, to focus on selected phrases or words. By interspersing the chosen sections of the conversation with titles for each print (Would/Could/Should), McClelland challenges notions of a single voice (either that of the speaker or the author) and creates instead a kind of layered conversation between the artist, the mothers and daughters, and the viewer.

Would; Could; Should, Suzanne McClelland (American, born Jacksonville, Florida, 1959), Color etching and woodcut

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.