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October 27, 2001
1:10 PM   Subscribe

If you find that flags on SUVs or for sale in pop-under ads water down the meaning of Old Glory, have I got some flags for you. Art's exploration of the flag as a symbol both strengthen it's value as a powerful icon, and question our country's fallibility.
posted by machaus (9 comments total)

 
Those are OK. The one that got me pissed was the one I saw hanging in a restaurant with the Ten Commandments in the union where the stars should be. *cringe*
posted by ChrisTN at 1:54 PM on October 27, 2001


I dunno. As an artist myself, I've always thought that using the American flag in this context is kind of a gimmicky way to attract attention. Contemporary artists like to use it for shock value or to make a political point, but more often than not what they come up seems overly simplistic and unsubtle...kinda like those SUVs with the li'l flags on 'em. The image of the klansman holding the baby in front of the flag and the word "hate" is a good example of that, I think. I also happen to think that Jasper Johns' flag paintings are not his best work by a long shot.
posted by MrBaliHai at 2:40 PM on October 27, 2001


Why should concepts of patriotism and the flag's symbology in our culture be off-limits for art? The Klansman, by the way, is just one of many characters that Cutrone has painted standing before a flag; it's a theme. It may have resonated more at the time of its creation, a period (roughly) when Klan rallies were a political sticking point around the nation.

Naturally, the kinds of political shenanigans that often seem to surround flag art (bans, NEA funding, etc.) serve only to increase interest and gimmickiness of the art itself rather than to let it be art.

machaus, I'm almost certain you meant "infallibility" in your post?
posted by dhartung at 2:58 PM on October 27, 2001


Why should concepts of patriotism and the flag's symbology in our culture be off-limits for art?

I don't think that anyone here has suggested that it should, and I'm also familiar with Cutrone's motifs and themes. I just don't happen to like art that comes across as hamfisted when dealing with politics, although I have to confess a great fondness for Barbara Kruger who would certainly never be accused of subtlety in her approach.
posted by MrBaliHai at 3:23 PM on October 27, 2001


Jasper Johns does some really cool stuff. R.A. Miller also does some interesting American flags, which seem to be selling like crazy lately.
posted by emptyage at 4:13 PM on October 27, 2001


Explain to me again how flags hanging on a car's antenna constitutes "art?"
posted by rushmc at 4:47 PM on October 27, 2001


It may not be art, but where I live it's at least a change from all of the cars with Green Bay Packer flags flying from the antennas and all of those little rear window stickers of Calvin peeing on Ford logos.
posted by MrBaliHai at 5:34 PM on October 27, 2001


My daughter bought me one of those flags that you place in the window by clamping the window on the base of the plastic flag pole. As it happened the first day I had it on the car, I had a meeting on a Defense Department compound.

Imagine my shock when I got back to my car after the meeting to find that someone had removed the plastic cap off the top of the pole and taken the flag. Of course, nobody saw a thing and I hope the "patriot" that stole it waves it proudly.
posted by MAYORBOB at 6:49 PM on October 27, 2001


MayorBob, the DoD is probably not the best place to show off your abuse of the flag, since the flag should never be "fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a way that would allow it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged"

I guess a "patriot" would have known that.
posted by stefanie at 10:12 AM on October 29, 2001


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