Black Artists Recreate the American Flag In Art

By: Priscilla Frank

A handful of black artists have chosen to explore this fascinating dichotomy, appropriating its image to create works that challenge viewers’ perceptions and beliefs.

david-hammons fl

“African-American Flag” by David Hammons

Transforming the American flag with red, black and green – colours that represent blood, black skin and African forestry – David Hammons examines the nation’s always-contentious racial politics.

basquiat flag

“Untitled (Flag)” by Jean-Michel Basquiat

According to the Smithsonian, Basquiat’s former roommate Alexis Adler has previously vocalised the artist’s affinity for the flag. “Jean-Michel Basquiat always saw the flag as American art,” stated Adler once.


The Black Light Series: Flag for the Moon: Die Nigger (1969)

Instead of the traditional flag that the American astronauts planted on the surface of the moon, Ringgold has inscribed, “die” in black lettering within the stars and has broken and changed the stripes, so that the white stripes read “nigger.”

What is the Proper Way to Display a US Flag? (detail)

“What is the Proper Way to Display a US Flag?” by Dread Scott

By placing the flag on the floor, Dread Scott forced America to question what the banner really stands for as well as why.


America Flag 2017 by Jason Innocent

Innocent created an American Flag 2017 poster which include text like NO RACISM, NO SEXISM, NO ABLEISM, NO FATPHOBIA, NO AGEISM, NO TRANSPHOBIA, NO HOMOPHOBIA and NO HATEFULNESS.

Priscilla Frank is a contributing editor. She an art and culture editor at Huffpost.

One thought on “Black Artists Recreate the American Flag In Art

  1. we, THE NEW INSTITUTE of advance study would like to use the image “Untitled (Flag)” by Jean-Michel Basquiat for our Newsletter.Please find out more about our institute at http://www.thenew.institut. The text for our next newsletter will focus on democracy. If you need more information please let me know. Thank you. Katja Emcke


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s