Philadelphia & New York
The first thing you see is the famous flag. The painting hangs at the entrance to the exhibition devoted to Jasper Johns at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Since the 1950s, when Johns unveiled this secular icon, commentators have thrust their interpretations upon the red, white, and blue image. Is it a statement about Cold War geopolitics? An ironic condemnation of patriotism? A cry for freedom of expression in an era of McCarthyism? A close look reveals an underlayer of newsprint, faintly visible beneath the encaustic that produces a lively texture of visible brushstrokes. The content of …
This article appears as “Flag Man” in the December 27, 2021, print edition of National Review.
Something to Consider
If you enjoyed this article, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS. Members get all of our content on the site including the digital magazine and archives, no paywalls or content meters, an advertising-minimal experience, and unique access to our writers and editors (through conference calls, social media groups, and more). And importantly, NRPLUS members help keep NR going.