America

Beginning with the era in which the "Great Communicator," President Ronald Reagan, was at the helm, many artists were prompted to question national identity and American iconography in both popular and so-called high culture. In fact, several would consider whether the long-standing icons and mythologies of American life were eclipsing the realities of lived experience. By utilizing imagery and objects associated with backyard barbecues or the scenic wonder of Niagara Falls, for example, or by skewering our historical romanticization of violence in military conflicts and popular sport alike, they prompted reassessments of national identity both at home and abroad. While legacies such as westward expansion and glorified symbols like the American flag have been consistent subjects in American art for decades, topics related to popular culture and capitalist expansion are equally enduring in terms of how they impact how we see and understand ourselves.

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citation for this page
"America." Take It or Leave It: Institution, Image, Ideology Digital Archive. Los Angeles: Hammer Museum, 2017. https://​hammer.ucla.edu/​take-it-or-leave-it/​art/​themes/​america/​.