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Copperhead Grid


1990, printed 1990s


Moyra Davey
Canadian, born 1958

About this artwork

In her writing, videos, and photographs, Moyra Davey ruminates in apparently unassuming ways on the things that populate her immediate environment. In Copperhead Grid, made early in her career, Davey zeroed in on a dollar’s worth of common pennies—insignificant objects of exchange—to concentrate on their intimate handling and the resultant scarring or obliteration of the portraits on their faces. Although the pennies are enlarged to more than their usual size in her photographs, the artist’s treatment of Abraham Lincoln in repeated small rectangles is precisely the opposite of the monumentalizing found in memorials like Mount Rushmore. According to some economists, the penny, an almost worthless coin often involuntarily withdrawn from circulation, is soon likely to go the way of the analog camera. Yet these worn, insignificant items still remain in the system, and can still retain the bite referred to in the work’s punning title.


Currently Off View


Photography and Media


Moyra Davey


Copperhead Grid


Canada (Artist's nationality)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 1990


Chromogenic prints (100)


Image: 17.5 × 6 cm (6 15/16 × 2 3/8 in.); Paper: 20 × 16 cm (7 7/8 × 6 5/16 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Liz and Eric Lefkofsky

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

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