New Glory

New Glory
New Glory.

The Flags of the World database has this to say about this flag:

These flags were a regular production item at the Paramount Flag Co. before 1978 and the subsequent adoption of the rainbow as a symbol of Gay Pride. It was popular with the “Rainbow Children” and other similar counter culture groups. It still is, and as they are quick to point out, “They had it first!”. They were used at Rainbow Gatherings. They were also made by Colors of the Wind in Santa Monica in the 1970’s (I think theirs started with a purple stripe). It is called “New Glory” and predated the “Gay Nation” rainbow by at least six years, probably longer. Also available was a “Rainbow” First Navy Jackbefore 1978. — James Ferrigan, 20 August 1999

The Rainbow Family has used the “New Glory” flag for many years. The canton of stars represents all of the constellations — united, or the U.S. depending on who you talk to. The stripes of many colors represent all of the tribes of the earth. The symbolism being that all of the different peoples or tribes can come together in peace and harmony. At least in a flag! And hopefully in person. The “Rainbow Family of Living Light”, also known as the “Rainbow Family” is an international, non-hierarchical, non-organized, loose-knit group of hippies. Ages vary from 1960´s flower power veterans to new-borns. All decisions are made by consensus. Anyone who cares about the earth and their fellow man is automatically a member. That includes you! Of course, membership lists are not kept, acceptance of a person is automatic upon that person showing up at a “gathering”. Sort of a hippie camporee! Or peace festival. National gatherings in the U.S. draw about 20 to 40 thousand people. It is not a gay organization. Gays are of course included, but as human beings, brothers and sisters, not as predominant or exclusive, or even excluded. Just more people. In about the same proportions as the general population — whatever that may be! — Kevin McNamara, 9 September 1999

The artist Stanley Bermudez has used New Glory as the basis for his painting “Rainbow Flag“:

Stanley Bermudez: Rainbow Flag.  Acrylics on Canvas, 45" x 60".
Stanley Bermudez: Rainbow Flag. Acrylics on Canvas, 45″ x 60″.

The Landscape Flag of Greenland

The Greenlandic flag, called Erfalasorput (our flag) or Aappalaartoq (the red) in Greenlandic.  Designed by Thue Christiansen.
The Greenlandic flag, called Erfalasorput (our flag) or Aappalaartoq (the red) in Greenlandic.

The distinctive flag of Greenland turns 30 today; Inuit artist and leader Thue Christiansen’s design was adopted 21 June 1985.

Thue Christiansen.  Photograph by Rimdal Th. Høegh (http://sermitsiaq.ag/groenland-positiv-fokus).
Thue Christiansen. Photograph by Rimdal Th. Høegh (sermitsiaq.ag/groenland-positiv-fokus).

According to its designer it depicts the sun reflecting on the ocean as it sets beneath the horizon, and the glaciers, ice cap, and ice bergs so prominent in the island’s landscape.

Mark Eischeid
Mark R. Eischeid

In 2010 artist and University of Oregon Landscape Architecture professor Mark Eischeid (www.markeischeid.com) traveled to Ilulissat, Greenland where he was inspired to make a series of screenprints reinterpreting the Erfalasorput based on the actual colors he sampled from the landscape there.

Eischeid

The Ingleby Gallery writes:

Each flag represents colours of landscape elements captured by photograph on a particular day and time. For the Objects at Sea flags, the top band represents the sky, the bottom band represents the sea, the top half-circle represents an iceberg above the water, and the bottom half-circle represents the same iceberg below the water. For the Objects on Land flags, the top band represents the sky, the bottom band represents an adjacent rock outcrop, the top half-circle represents a building, and the bottom half-circle represents the concrete foundation of that same building.

Flags on Artsy

Artsy.net is an online platform for art collecting and education, “making the art world accessible to anyone with an Internet connection”.  A well-funded startup, it recently made news by hosting the first art auction in which the art objects were algorithms, and makes use of algorithms to structure content on its site in an effort it calls the Art Genome Project.

Of interest to vexillologists, Artsy offers profiles on Jasper Johns, David Datuna, and other flag artists, as well as “genes” like flagamerican flag, chinese flag, etc.

Some examples of flag art on Artsy:

Chen Man: Long Live the Motherland, Shanghai No. 1, 2010
Chen Man: Long Live the Motherland, Shanghai No. 1, 2010
alien-nation
Chris Henry: Alien Nation, 2014
son-of-the-moon
Son of the Moon: Mute, 2014
johns-flag-and-vase
Jasper Johns: Untitled (Flag & Vase), 2000
brian-alfred-flag
Brian Alfred: Flag, 2015

Flags and Stamps

Flags and Stamps is the beautifully curated blog of Indian vexillologist/philatelist Sekhar Chakrabarti.  The scope of flag stamps covered is wide-ranging, though Chakrabarti has a special interest in the appearances of the Indian flag on stamps.  He is author of The Indian National Flag Unfurled through Philately published by Niyogi Books.

Here are some examples from this colorful blog:

Commemorative stamp for the 50th anniversary of the Asia-Pacific Postal Union, issued by the Philippines in 2012.  From Chakrabarti's most recent posting.
Commemorative stamp for the 50th anniversary of the Asia-Pacific Postal Union, issued by the Philippines in 2012. From Chakrabarti’s most recent posting.
The Red Lion of the Kingdom of León, commemorating the 1100th anniversary of León's founding.  From the post Animals on Flags.
The Red Lion of the Kingdom of León, commemorating the 1100th anniversary of León’s founding. From the post Animals on Flags.
Gandhi was opposed to the dharma wheel replacing the spinning wheel on the Indian flag, but here he is shown smiling upon it.  From the post  Misuse of the Indian National Flag by Political Parties.
Gandhi was opposed to the dharma wheel replacing the spinning wheel on the Indian flag, but here he is shown smiling upon it. From the post Misuse of the Indian National Flag by Political Parties.
Stamp commemorating the nationalities gathered at the World Buddhist Summit in Myanmar in 2004.  In the posting Indian Flag on Foreign Stamps, Part I.
Stamp commemorating the nationalities gathered at the World Buddhist Summit in Myanmar in 2004. In the posting Indian Flag on Foreign Stamps, Part I.
The Heroes of 2001 stamp issued by the USPS in March 2002.  From the posting US Flag and the Tenth anniversary of 9/11 (September 11) attack.
The Heroes of 2001 stamp issued by the USPS in March 2002. From the posting US Flag and the Tenth anniversary of 9/11 (September 11) attack.

The Shrillest Flag Art on Tumblr

shrill_eflags is a Tumblr feed documenting the many uses of the US flag in (non-folk) art, ranging from gallery installations to documentary photography.  The archives start in January of this year and @theshrillest (aka Shrill Cosby) has been posting over 60 times each month since then.

It is dazzling to see all the many ways the US flag appears, transformed and situated, in this flood of online imagery.  Here is a small sampling.

January

Henri Cartier-Bresson - Cape Cod, 1947
Henri Cartier-BressonCape Cod, 1947

February

Everitte Barbee - American Flag (2014).  The Arabic text is the Pledge of Allegiance.
Everitte BarbeeAmerican Flag (2014). The Arabic text is the Pledge of Allegiance.

March

Stacey Lee Webber - God Bless America: American Flags, 2009 (pennies, steel)
Stacey Lee WebberGod Bless America: American Flags, 2009 (pennies, steel)

April

James Cameron - still from Avatar, 2012
James Cameron – still from Avatar, 2012

May

Hans Haacke - installation view of State of the Union, Paula Cooper Gallery, NY, 2005
Hans Haacke – installation view of State of the Union, Paula Cooper Gallery, NY, 2005

Andy Warhol and the American Flag

Yesterday we looked at Warhol’s iconic screen print Moonwalk.  Here are some more examples of artwork connecting Andy Warhol and the American flag.

From Warhol/Basquiat at Kunstforum Wien 16.10.2013-02.02.2014

Andy Warhol, Andy Warhol and American Flag, 1983, Unikat, Vintage Gelatine Silver Print, 20,3 x 25,4 cm, Courtesy Galerie Bruno Bischofberger, Schweiz © Foto: Galerie Bruno Bischofberger, Schweiz © 2014, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., New York; Bildrecht, Wien
Andy Warhol – Andy Warhol and American Flag, 1983, Unikat, Vintage Gelatine Silver Print, 20,3 x 25,4 cm.

From Christie’s Auction February 2013

ANDY WARHOL (1928-1987)  Flag with Legs  unique gelatin silver print  8 x 10 in. (20.3 x 25.4 cm.)  Executed circa 1985.
Andy Warhol – Flag with Legs. ca. 1985

From Karen BystedtThe Lost Warhols (2013) in Paraphilia Magazine and Livefast Magazine

Boyish Andy, 1982 - Photograph by Karen Bystedt
Boyish Andy, 1982 – Photograph by Karen Bystedt
Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol, 1982 – Photograph by Karen Bystedt
Untitled - Karen Bystedt in collaboration with Peter Tunney
Untitled – Karen Bystedt in collaboration with Peter Tunney

Alberto Schommer

Andy Warhol, 1983 - by Alberto Schommer
Andy Warhol, 1983 – by Alberto Schommer

Andy Warhol, NASA, and the Making of “Moonwalk”

Moonwalk is one of Andy Warhol’s last works, produced shortly before his death in 1987 and never signed.  There are two regular edition versions, one in yellow, one in pink.

moonwalk
Andy Warhol – Moonwalk (1987). Yellow version.
Andy Warhol - Moonwalk (1987). Pink version.
Andy Warhol – Moonwalk (1987). Pink version.

There were also 66 trial proofs, each unique. One example:

warhol_moonwalkhome
Andy Warhol – Moonwalk (1987). One of 66 trial proofs.

It is easy to think that this is Warhol drawing and painting over a famous NASA photograph from Apollo 11, but this would only be partially true.

Neil Armstrong did take a famous picture of Buzz Aldrin standing next to the flag on the moon — but Aldrin is shown in profile, and to the right of the flag.

AS11-40-5875HR-cropped
Buzz Aldrin salutes the US flag on the Moon’s Sea of Tranquillity, landing site of Apollo 11, June 1969. Photograph by Neil Armstrong. Detail from photo AS11-40-5875 from the NASA’s Apollo 11 Image Library.

There is also a famous “selfie” that Armstrong took of himself, using the visor of Aldrin’s space suit as a mirror.  This is in fact the astronaut photograph that Warhol used, but only after mirror-reversing it (e.g., in the photo the astronaut is bending his left arm, but Warhol’s astronaut is bending his right).

a11-5903vs5904-released
Buzz Aldrin on the moon, with Neil Armstrong and part of the Lunar Module “Eagle” reflected in Adrin’s visor. As a PR image that surely makes the moon landing deniers happy, this is actually a doctored image with black added above Aldrin’s head for aesthetic appeal. Apollo 11 image AS11-40-5903, version released to the press and featured, for example, in Life Magazine.  
Detail of the original raw image, showing Armstrong reflected in Aldrin's visor.
Detail of the original raw image, showing Armstrong reflected in Aldrin’s visor.

So Moonwalk has behind it a story of artistic liberties, some taken by NASA, many more by the pop artist.

There is another story unfolding about this iconic flag image by Warhol/NASA.  A year after Warhol’s death, Chris Murray’s Govinda Gallery donated Moonwalk screenprints to a charity auction for the Challenger Center for Space Science Education in Houston.  Aldrin and his wife Lois attended the event, and Murray ended up giving them one of the yellow screenprints.  At the end of this month, Lois and Buzz Aldrin will be auctioning off their copy.

presentation

Mexican-American Flags

Today is Cinco de Mayo, a Mexican holiday that is celebrated more in the United States than in its country of origin: a Mexican-American holiday more than either a Mexican or American one.  How can Mexican-American-ness be expressed through flags?  Most commonly, of course, the Mexican flag is used for this purpose, often in conjunction with the US flag.

Cinco de Mayo in Reno, Nevada.  Photo from Reno Tahoe account on flickr.
Cinco de Mayo in Reno, Nevada. Photo from Reno Tahoe account on flickr.

But here are some designs for merged or distinctive Mexican-American flags.

Stanley Bermudez: Mexican American United States III. Acrylics on canvas. 45
Stanley Bermudez: Mexican American United States III. Acrylics on canvas. 45″ X 90″.

The text reads:

The cause is holy and God will protect it.
Long live Our Lady of Guadalupe,
Death to bad government,
Death to the Spaniards and the British!
Long live independence!
Long live the Mexican-American United States!

2000px-Bandera_de_Aztlán.svg
Proposed flag of Aztlán by Alberto España, on Wikimedia Commons.  The stars represent California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Texas.
mexicanamericanflagcopy
Mexican American flag by Negrac on onrpg.com.
Jorge-Rojas-and-Diego-Aguirre-Mexican-American-flag
U.S.-Mexican In-dependence Flag by artists Jorge Rojas and Diego Aguirre.
USA Mexico Friendship flag, design copyright Flags Importer Corporation.
USA Mexico Friendship flag, design copyright Flags Importer Corporation.
IMG_6722
Mexican-American Flag, by Nacho Becerra. Tapestry with silkscreened stars and altered sarape.

The Trouble with Icons

Here is a fascinating 37-minute documentary on the use — by photographers, artists, journalists, institutions, and ordinary citizens — of the American flag in response to war/terrorism, from British film makers David Dunnico and Cat Gregory.

They compare two cases: the 1945 attack by US Marines on Japanese-held Iwo Jima out of which came Joe Rosenthal’s iconic photo, and the 11 September 2001 attacks by al-Qaeda on the World Trade Center, out of which have come a number of images, artifacts, and memorials, but none that have (yet) achieved the iconicity of Rosenthal’s photo.

The still unsettled nature of the cultural response to 9/11 is not necessarily a bad thing, allowing room (in theory at least) for artistic questioning and reconsideration, which is closed off when representations become fixed as icons, only suitable for narrowly prescribed contexts, or for parody and cliche.  Dunnico and Gregory also highlight important differences between art, memorial, and propaganda, and between still photography, sculpture, and film or other dynamic media.

Joe Rosenthal’s famous World War 2 photograph of the raising of the US flag on Iwo Jima has acquired so much cultural currency, it has transcended its original form and become the most iconic photograph ever taken. But in doing so it has given the culture it came from a problematic legacy, that has become all too aparent in artisits’ responses to the attacks on 9/11.

David Dunnico is a documentary photographer from Manchester in the UK. Cat Gregory is a freelance film editior based in London.

Ron English – Flag of Baby America

Ron English mural on the Houston Bowery Wall in Manhattan, completed 18 April 2015.  Photo by Aymann Ismail/ANIMALNewYork.
Ron English mural on the Houston Bowery Wall in New York City, completed 18 April 2015. Photo by Aymann Ismail/ANIMALNewYork.

Bucky Turco at ANIMALNewYork reports on a large US flag mural by “interventionist” Ron English that’s gone up on the Houston Bowery Wall (an outdoor exhibition space) in Manhattan.  The stars feature star-eyed (or rather star-eye-socketed) skulls, and the stripes are reproductions of English’s Propaganda images of ad and currency parodies.  The baby Hulk in the middle?

“The original idea is that he’s Baby America,” explains English. “He’s way more powerful than he is smart. And he’s about to be pissed off about something. It could be all the animals. It could be he’s not in the ads. We don’t know.”

Lots of great images, quotes, and a timelapse video at animalnewyork.com: