Patty Hearst: American Fugitive or American Sweetheart

Twenty six black-and-white photographs of Patricia Hearst in four rows, with a letter of the alphabet—from A to Z—in white superimposed over each one.
Dennis Adams, Patricia Hearst—A thru Z, 1979/90. Serigraphs on paper and galvanizes steel box; edition 20 of 3026, each: 20 × 16 in. (50.8 × 40.6 cm). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift of Howard and Donna Stone, 1996.29.a–ee. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.

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Before (or after) visiting The Making of a Fugitive, an exhibition that explores ways that the media constructs understandings of lawlessness and features Dennis Adams’s Patricia Hearst—A thru Z (1979/90), MCA staff and visitors have recommended reading Jeffrey Toobin’s new book American Heiress. An exploration of Patty Hearst’s life and her transformation into Tania of the Symbionese Liberation Army, Toobin looks at the motivations and reasons behind Hearst’s time in captivity. Written without cooperation from Hearst herself, Toobin digs into extensive materials both public and private—apparently even buying an “extensive set of files assembled by one her revolutionary comrades” for research—to get at what really happened to Hearst; to look at the facts, rather than media’s representation of them. Read the New York Times Review and listen to an interview with the author on NPR, then visit us to consider it all.



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