Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
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Out of the Fray

an exclusively virtual exhibition focusing on the complex meanings and creative absorption of the American flag

curated by Judith Tolnick Champa

September 24, 2020 through January 31, 2021

The Progenitors
View Robert Frank Image View Jasper Johns Image View Faith Ringgold Image

Launched before the significant, defining November election, Out of the Fray is in part a reflection of some of our current extreme socio-political and biological frays, and unravelings.

Three progenitor artists represented above—essential exemplars known for their representations of the flag—orient us to the topic. They introduce the complex meanings and creative absorption that the symbolically, emotionally loaded American flag has come to hold for a dozen featured contemporary artists. Like the progenitors, the contemporary cohort speaks (out) through imaging the flag. They are political in never accepting the existing state of affairs, stylistically or otherwise.

Acknowledgements | Introduction: The Progenitors & Curator's Remarks | Exhibition Checklist

Progenitor Artists

Robert Frank
1924 Zurich, Switzerland - 2019, Nova Scotia, Canada

Jasper Johns
b. 1930 August, Georgia
Lives and works in Sharon, Connecticut

Faith Ringgold
b. 1930, Harlem, New York, New York
Lives and works in Englewood, New Jersey

Cohort of Contemporary Artists

Janie Cohen, Burlington, Vermont
David Cole, Hudson, New York
Liz Collins, New York, New York
Tasha Dougé, Bronx, New York
Elizabeth Duffy, Providence, Rhode Island
Gary Graham, Franklin, New York
Barbara Kruger, LA, CA and New York, New York
Vanessa Leroy, Boston, Massachusetts
Jessica Deane Rosner, Providence, Rhode Island
Edwin Schlossberg, New York, New York
Adrienne Sloane, Watertown, Massachusetts
WORK/PLAY, St. Louis, Missouri

Janie Cohen

We Hold These Truths, 2018
Cloth, thread, ink, majorette's baton   
38 x 39 x 2 1/2

Dave Cole

The Knitting Machine, detail

The Knitting Machine, 2005
Functional installation with acrylic felt and excavators
(Partial view, MASS MoCA installation)

Liz Collins

Pride Dress

Pride Dress, 2003
Cotton, synthetic fiber, wool; plain weave, machine knit-grafted
109 inches (center back length)

Tasha Dougé

Rhode to Brown, still from video

Rhode to Brown, 2020
Still from HD video
Color, Sound, 10:48

Elizabeth Duffy

Detail, Unraveling: Suit with Lapel Pin, 2020
Photo collage mounted on Hahnemühle Photo Rag
17 1/2 x 14

Gary Graham

Detail, Pride Dress, 2003
Cotton, synthetic fiber, wool; plain weave, machine knit-grafted
109 inches (center back length)

Barbara Kruger

Detail, Untitled (Questions), 1990/2018
Exterior paint
on view October 20, 2018–November 2020 at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA Los Angeles

Vanessa Leroy

Vanessa Leroy - Altar of Stars

Detail, Altar of Stars, 2015
Digital inkjet print
27 x 20 (vertical diptych)

Jessica Deane Rosner

American Slinky

Detail, American Slinky, 2004
Colored ink on paper
8 x 5 1/2

Edwin Schlossberg

Detail, United States of America, 1983 (in four parts)
Ink, pencil, crayon and Liquid Crystal paint on paper
30 1/2 x 40 each

Adrienne Sloane

Detail, At the End of My Rope, 2019 
Knit cotton, rope
57 (top of the noose) x 14 1/2


Everything is ALT Right, 2017
Fabric ink, U.S. Flag, t-pins
3 feet x 5 feet