Jasper Johns is famous for his story of how he came to paint his first American flag: “One night I dreamed that I painted a large American flag,” Johns has said of this work, “and the next morning I got up and I went out and bought the materials to begin it.” He would go on with a chuckle that his childhood history teacher would have been proud. The American flag appears in works as diverse as Robert Mapplethorpe’s black and white photograph of a wind stretched tattered flag on a flagpole to Frederick Childe Hassam’s The Avenue in the Rain. Returning from my visit to the New Haven Lawn Club and Jay Bright’s most recent exhibition, I went to my library to view Edward Moran’s Unveiling the Statue of Liberty which appears on the cover of my paper book edition of E. L Doctorow’s rich 1974 American tapestry, Ragtime. Jay Bright visits those places that appear in the novel: seascapes, porches, and parades on hazy summer days. Inspired by his own heroes, Derain and Hockney among them, Bright reminds us that the power of those stars and stripes is not just seasonal, political, or camp but a gentle iconic confection that has inspired artists for centuries.
Linda Lindroth is an American artist, photographer, writer, curator and educator who lives and works in New Haven, CT.
STRUCTURES is on view at the New Haven Lawn Club thru September 7, 2019
open to the public 9-5 seven days a week