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Art in America for this 4th of July

July 4, 2019
Balasz Takac is alias of Vladimir Bjelicic who is actively engaged in art criticism, curatorial and artistic practice.

The most important state holiday in The United States is the 4th of July. On that particular date in 1776, the Declaration of Independence was proclaimed by the Continental Congress; that meant that the thirteen American colonies were no longer under the rule of the United Kingdom and were now fully independent states.

Ever since each year, the celebration takes place statewide and the citizens enjoy parades, fireworks, barbecues, fairs, carnivals, etc, alongside public and private events such as exhibitions, debates, commemorations celebrating the history of the United States.

Here are ten exceptional artworks which you can add to your collection as you read this edition of Collectors tip.

Featured image: Devin Miles – American Boy, 2017. All images are courtesy of their respective galleries.

  • Yaacov Agam – Flag

Yaacov Agam – Flag

The first artwork on our list was made by Yaacov Agam, one of the most important Israeli artists best known for his pioneering role in the Kinetic art movement. This acclaimed figure was dazzled by the idea of challenging the perceptual abilities of the beholder; his works are interwoven with various references related to the Jewish tradition, especially Kabbalah. By experimenting with light and sound, Agam searched for different solutions of form and color and the majority of his works were released in the public space, the Hanukkah Menorah at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 59th Street in New York City being the best-known one.

This particular piece is a work on paper depicting the American flag in an optical manner typical for Agam.

See more info about the work here.

  • Jasper Jones - The 50th Anniversary of the Whitney Museum of American Art

Jasper Johns - The 50th Anniversary of the Whitney Museum of American Art (Double Flag)

Next up is the work made by the celebrated American artist Jasper Johns primarily associated with the development of the early post-war Neo-Dada movement. Johns is best known for embracing the American iconography as a basis for his explorations. The Flag series are considered as his signature works (they were allegedly made after the artist dreamt the American flag).

This particular piece is a print made in 1979 in an honor of the 50th Anniversary of the Whitney Museum of American Art.

See more info about the work here.

  • Illma Gore - Make America Great Again

Illma Gore - Make America Great Again

The artist of the younger generation Illma Gore is gender fluid and feminist performance artist whose practice is focused on the explorations of the corporeality in political terms. In 2016, she made this nude of the current American president Donald Trump ironically titled Make America Great Again.

After sharing her painting on social media, the artist was banned by an anonymous third-party copyright owner; however, Gore made a decision to make the work publicly accessible and free of charge. The American galleries refused to exhibit the work which was for the first time publicly shown at Maddox Gallery in London.

See more info about the work here.

  • Robert Indiana - The American Dream

Robert Indiana - The American Dream

Following up is the work by one of the leading proponents of Pop art, Robert Indiana. This acclaimed artist arrived in New York City in 1954 and joined the Pop art movement, and he became known for producing simple and graphic text-based images, especially numbers and short words such as HUG or LOVE, which became one of the symbols of the New York City.

The American Dream is a complete portfolio of six screenprints in the original portfolio case made by Indiana in 1997.

See more info about the work here.

  • Pure Love - Americas Nightmare My Enemies are in Power

Pure Evil - America's Nightmare My Enemies are in Power

Charles Uzzell-Edwards is a famous British graffiti and street artist known by the moniker Pure Evil. His signature tag of a vampire bunny rabbit refers to the artist’s feeling of remorse after shooting a rabbit in the countryside as a boy. His practice shaped in the early 1990s while working the States as one of the designers for a clothing label called Anarchic Adjustment and collaborating with the electronic music scene in San Francisco.

The piece America’s Nightmare My Enemies are in Power is a painting made by the artist in 2017 and it features the head of the Statue of Liberty with a specific mark underneath the eye (typical for the artist).

See more info about the work here.

  • Devin Miles - American Boy

Devin Miles - American Boy

Devin Miles is a German artist who came to prominence in the early 2000s with his colorful paintings reminiscent of Neo-Dada and Pop Art produced in silk-screening, paintbrush, and airbrushing techniques.

The painting American Boy nicely illustrates Miles’ practice; James Dean as the cult American celebrity is juxtaposed against the collaged surface consisting of dollar bills, the American flag, and 1950s posh cars.

See more info about the work here.

  • Billy Ma - Death of the American Dream

Billy Ma - Death of the American Dream (Socio-Politicking Series)

Following up is the work of Chinese-born Canadian artist Billy Ma, who is focused on combining both eastern and western influences into stark compositions within his signature Booda (nicknamed given to Ma by his friends) brand. Namely, this artist tends to explore modern imaging techniques and new visual forms by appropriating and reinterpreting historic genres in a contemporary manner.

Death of the American Dream belongs to the artist’s socio-politicking series and was made in 2018.

See more info about the work here.

  • Seen - Captain America

SEEN - Captain America

American graffiti artist Richard Mirando or better known under the moniker SEEN is often referred to as the Godfather of Graffiti; he started tagging in the New York City Subway system in 1973, and was a founding member of United Artists (crew consisting of Duster, Sin, and his brother Mad) known for painting whole cars.

This particular work gives homage to the iconic Marvel Comics character Captain America who fought various villains in order to protect the country.

See more info about the work here.

  • Andy Warhol - Uncle Sam

Andy Warhol - Uncle Sam

The leading proponent or as the public often calls him the Prince of Pop, Andy Warhol is best known for his famous screen prints, the technique he embraced and used much throughout his entire career.

The portraits of celebrities were his fetish, so it is not unusual that he decided to produce the one of Uncle Sam, which is a common national personification of the American government or the United States in general.

See more info about the work here.

  • Shepard Fairey - Immigration reform now

Shepard Fairey - Immigration reform now!

The last artwork on our top list devoted to the celebration of the fourth July was made by an American street artist, graphic designer, activist, and illustrator Shepard Fairey. This rebellious figure is well known for his critical practice and he often deals with controversial social and political issues by promoting awareness and donating funds for various causes.

The 2009 print Immigration reform now! was made in order to express solidarity with the immigrants and spread awareness about the effects of racial politics imposed by the government.

See more info about the work here.