White Flag | 2005
produced for Unfurled Estonia, curated by Pond
White Flag is a U.S. flag spray-painted white. Depending on the cultural context a white flag may have various meanings. In the United States the predominant understanding is that a white flag signifies a surrendering – or at least a devious/heroic plan to ensnare the enemy in a deadly bluff. This White Flag is not a celebration of modernist values, or an example of witty iconic pop art. This is one flag become another. Disclaimer: White Flag will fade and crack while exposed to natural and human elements during exterior exhibition thereby, beginning a transformation back to the U.S. flag.
“A U.S. flag painted white, Mark Cooley’s White Flag plays on various cultural resonations. In the United States white flags signify a surrendering – but exposed to natural elements (sun, wind, rain, etc.), White Flag will crack and fade, eventually returning the artwork to its originary incarnation as a piece of cloth. We are left with an open ended question about the evanescent nature of art and the axiomatic character of symbols in the political imaginary. White Flag also alludes to various monochromatic paintings in 20th century Western art (Rodchenko, Robert Ryman, Malevich, Yves Klein, Rothko) that position themselves as the death of painting, a non-painting painting, a blank slate to which we impute meaning. In Cooley’s piece, an actual flag underlies the layers of paint – as if to expose the political and social underpinnings of a Modernist ‘neutral field’.” Press Release, Written by Marisa Jahn