Amending the American flag: artistic liberties in the nineteen sixties and seventies
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] Since its official creation in 1777, the American flag has come to symbolize the Constitution, United States history, and personal political values. In the 1960s and 70s, the government attempted to limit flag display to a patriotic symbolism in response to mass protests over the Vietnam War and civil rights. Its attempt to control the image and meaning of the flag led citizens to use the flag to fight for freedom of speech, a freedom that the flag supposedly represented. The attempt to restrict usage of the American flag as an object and an image resulted in citizens and artists alike grasping for control over their national emblem and its meaning. With the Civil Rights Movement, the sixties and seventies brought widespread change as artists explored issues of personal and group identity in a culturally diverse nation. The following chapters consider the artists Jasper Johns, Wayne Eagleboy, Massimo Vignelli, and Faith Ringgold, who used the image of the flag to respond to the nation's controversy surrounding the flag's symbolic meaning and debated over problems concerning what it means to be American. Issues of disunity, inequality, injustice, diversity and lack of freedoms took the place of traditional meanings associated with the flag. I analyze their work from a multicultural perspective to exhibit the various ways the flag communicated and challenged American ideals.
Access is limited to the campus of the University of Missouri--Columbia.