Brandon Zech and Christina Rees discuss some of their favorite works that tackle the ultra-charged symbolism of the U.S. flag.
“Because the Fourth of July is coming up, and because our country is in terrible disarray, and it seems timely.”
To watch a special episode of Top Five with Christopher Blay and guests Danielle Demetria East, Robert L. Hodge, David Jeremiah, and Vicki Meek on the topic of art and social justice, please go here.
1. David Hammons, Black First, America Second, 1970 (Top)
1. a) David Hammons, African-American Flag, 1990
2. Dread Scott, What Is the Proper Way to Display a U.S. Flag, 1989.
3. Barbara Kruger, Untitled (Questions), 1990/2018.
4. William Pope.L, Trinket, 2008
5. The Art Guys, Ashes of the American Flag Rearranged Into Three Other Easily Recognizable Symbols,1990
Bernardo Vallarino-Portela contributed two especially moving flag pieces to the exhibition, “My Corona,” currently on view at Ro2 Art in Dallas.
From the artist:
“At the beginning, I did not think I would be addressing the pandemic with my artwork because the suffering brought about by COVID-19 was not the result of human violence. However, as economic pressures began to increase, certain social selfish attitudes and actions (mainly in the US) began to arise and worsen. These behaviors, where money outweighs safety, have inspired a small body of work addressing three main topics: The first topic engages with the notion that the wellbeing of a stable economy supersedes the wellbeing of the elderly. (“Tribute to Grandma’s Sacrifice”)
“The second topic addresses the blunt, and in some cases armed, disobedience of certain communities towards social precautionary guidelines meant to save lives. (“Tribute to the Standing Patriot”)
“And lastly, the life-threatening uneven social and legal standing between whites and minorities.” (“Tribute to the Murder WASP”)
“Tribute to The Standing Patriot” and “Tribute to Grandma’s Sacrifice” are currently on view.
All three of the flags can be viewed here: