Flag: An American Story

Topic(s): Exhibition | No Comments

Date/Time: 02/10/2004 12:00 am

Flag: An American Story
by photographer Lauri Lyons
Saturday, October 2nd, 6-9:30 pm
Union Docs performance at 9:00 pm
322 Union Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
(L to Lorimer, G to Metropolitan, JMZ to Hewes)
In its very first event, UnionDocs, a new documentary collaborative and art space, opens with the US gallery premiere of “Flag: An American Story” an exhibition by New York-based artist Lauri Lyons.
“Flag: An American Story is a grand journey,” writes Paul Fusco of Magnum Photos, “that opens our eyes and hearts to the inestimable value of each human being and the truths that hold our society together; the foundations and promises of America that live in our constitution and Bill of Rights. Flag is a remarkable achievement.”
Lyons, born in the Bronx, grew up consistently surrounded by the flag, moving from army base to army base. Her parents immigrated from Jamaica and were both active in the Air Force. Inspired as an adult to more deeply understand the vastness of the United States, Lyons embarked on a year-long documentary journey across the country. From Montana to Philadelphia, from San Francisco to Louisiana, Lyons asked a spectrum of average citizens the question “What is America?” and photographed them with the American flag. Some held it reverently, some casually, some refused to hold it at all. The resulting photographs are “raw images that portray the fundamental link of individuals across a multi-cultural nation,” writes Picture Magazine.
Initially ignored by American publishers, Flag was first published in London in 2001 by Vision One Books. The Observer saw it as “forming an image of America far removed from the stereotypical dream.” Directly after September 11th when Flag was released, an American audience was not prepared to approach work that might appear critical of the country. To date, Flag has never been exhibited in the United States. UnionDocs is proud to be exhibiting the project at such a relevant momentÑexactly one month before the election.
Processing and producing documentation today, UnionDocs is a platform where a floating network of members, collaborators, and interlocutors load and unload the possibilities and problems within contemporary art, politics, and society. The collaborative is based at 322 Union Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. On September 3rd, UnionDocs aired an hour long radio piece on WKCR, including an interview with the artist and a collage of answers to the question “What is America?” The night before the opening, October 1st at 10pm, a second broadcast will air on WKCR, this one focusing on the question, “What is documentation?” Building upon these two radio shows, and as part of the opening event, UnionDocs will present a short audio, video and live performance piece.
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