Norman Rockwell’s illustrations with their “armies of perfectly imperfect girls” never resonated with artist Niki Johnson, a member of the “Atari 2600” generation, as they peered at her from porcelain commemorative plates that seemed to be everywhere during her youth — the pages of magazines, television screens, the walls of middle America’s homes.

And yet, some 30 years later, she would begin purchasing these commemorative plates, at thrift stores for just a few dollars each, tucking them away for a moment that felt right, for a project yet unrealized. Over a decade, she would amass a collection of a few hundred Rockwell plates, along with dozens of other motifs and designs featuring American landscapes, playing children, churches and historical landmarks, flora and fauna.

CRANK vases, installation view, 2019, Coiled Red Earthenware – Kid Tested Mother Approved, 13 x 13 x 22″