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Flag

Flag

Liu created Flag in response to a pro-choice rally she attended in Washington, D.C. on April 5, 1992. The event was an historically momentous one, as the U.S. Supreme Court prepared to consider the constitutionality of a Pennsylvania state law that restricted access to abortions. Against the backdrop of an actual American flag superimposed on a wooden grid, Liu pasted black-and-white photographs that she took at this rally, as well as newspaper clippings and multiple images of women from fashion magazines. Liu also borrowed from various art-historical sources, such as a fragment from a Barbara Kruger poster featuring the slogan, “Your body is a battleground”; a detail from Fernand Léger’s monumental painting, Three Women; and Kazimir Malevich’s The Woodcutter—a canvas which features a little-seen painting of a group of humble peasant women in church on its verso. The result is a sense of a compartmentalized whole that highlights both the individuality and communality of women’s experiences, and the various ways they are depicted in popular culture. Knotted segments of red, white, and blue string stretched across the wooden grid symbolize chains of progression, as an idea develops into action and, ultimately, manifests social change.

Written by Jennifer Field

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