Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July

Childe Hassan

American Picnic by Roland Petersen. 1967

Emma Amos. "Equal." A painting by an African-American Woman artist whose work is a complex commentary on her status as an America, a woman and a descendant of slaves. This is even more appropriate now as the Supreme Court has gutted the Civil Rights Voting Act and seven states, to date, have rushed to pass Jim Crow laws. 

Flag is an encaustic painting by the American artist Jasper Johns. Created when Johns was 24 (1954–55), two years after he was discharged from the US Army, this painting was the first of many works that Johns has said were inspired by a dream of the U.S. flag in 1954. It is arguably the painting for which Johns is best known.

How our national anthem has changed over the decades:

From bone-shaking, blowout performances to quiet paintings that embody the evanescent beauty of the lights, fireworks have been a source of inspiration to artists for decades. In celebration of the US’s foremost fireworks-lighting holiday, the Fourth of July, here are some that really pop.

Link to my 2013 post with a video by Bill Moyers n this video essay, Bill Moyers reflects on the origins and lessons of Independence Day. We should remember, he says, that behind this Fourth of July holiday are human beings, like Thomas Jefferson, who were as flawed and conflicted as they were inspired, who espoused great humanistic ideals while behaving with reprehensible racial discrimination. That conflict — between what we know and how we live — is still a struggle in contemporary politics and society.

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