ARTINFO's Top 10 U.S. Flag Artworks, Ranked From Reverentially Patriotic to Polemically Dissident

Nam June Paik, "Video Flag Z," 1986
(© Nam June Paik Estate/2012 Museum Associates/LACMA)

As usual, this year the United States observes its national holiday, Independence Day, with fireworks, baseball games, BBQs, screenings of the 1996 science-fiction film "Independence Day," and much flag-waving. Though the holiday marks the 1776 signing of the Declaration of Independence that proclaimed the 13 colonies' separation from Great Britain and it wasn't until June of the following year that the fledgling union of states adopted Old Glory as its official flag, its red, white, and blue pattern of stripes and stars has become a staple of July 4th celebrations — much more so, in fact, than the rarely observed Flag Day.

For these and innumerable other reasons, the U.S. flag has proved an inexhaustible source of inspiration, fodder for allusion, and focus of political commentary for artists over the past 225 years. Here, ARTINFO has collected our favorite pieces of flag art and ranked them from the most patriotic to the most dissident. Happy 4th of July! To see ARTINFO's Top 10 U.S. flag artworks, click the slide show.

 

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