I know, I’m a dork. But, my fellow Americans, and Swedes and Brits and whoever else skims my articles, this is AMERICA. WE ARE AMERICANS NOW. Before you watch fireworks or eat cake or run off to the South of France, take a moment to reflect on GREAT AMERICAN ARTISTS. Unfortunately, my list is a little too laden with males. America will get over itself one of these days…
- Jasper Johns
Flag (1954-1955), via MoMA
Duh. Move over Betsy Ross.
- Andy Warhol
Campbell’s Soup Cans (1962), also via MoMA
Nothing says America like commercialism, mass production, catchy refrigerator magnets and muses with heroin problems.
- Jeff Koons
Michael Jackson and Bubbles, (1988), via The Whitney
Nothing else says America like balloon animals, Michael Jackson, pissing off the Louvre and getting rid of back-stock from Gagosian. Also, Lady Gaga likes him. Go to the Whitney or you’re a communist.
- Cindy Sherman
Untitled #466 (2008) via MoMA again! Do I hate myself?
Not everything born in New Jersey is good, but every once in a while you get a gem. Sherman’s chameleon-like ways are a one-woman melting pot, and have spanned decades of fascinating insights into character and presence. My favorite is the “Rich Women” series, once exhibited in situ at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich. I wrote a piece about it for Art Observed that has been lost to posterity in the blogosphere. RIP February 2011.
- Richard Prince
Untitled (Cowboys) (1992) via Gagosian
Cowboys and plagiarism anyone? Maybe just breakfast at Tiffany’s?
- James Franco
Just kidding. How is this still a thing?
- Jean-Michel Basquiat
The artist in 1985, via the Brooklyn Museum
Before the mostly-terrible Schnabel movie, Basquiat was as New York as 99 cent pizza.
Leghead is an underground kind of guy right now, but you might have seen his work. Blogger Mitch Broder does a good feature on him.
This one time I was sitting in Rox Gallery, and Leghead came in and started singing. Then he went into the store next door, swiped a mannequin and a hammer without discussion, and started louding banging outside. Needless to say, I love his work and try to keep an eye out for it out and about in downtown Manhattan. If random, kind of crazy, and really fun isn’t the best amalgamation of American values, I don’t know what is.
- Helen Frankenthaler
I shamelessly stole this image from a blog called The Artsy Ladies. You love it.
Mid-20th century America was arguably its heyday as a formidable source of art and culture. For all the Cowboys of the Abstract Expressionist movement, there were just as many women making fantastic work. Helen is my long lost secret soul sister grandmother, to put it in art historical terms.
- John Singer Sargent
Madame X (1883-84), via the Metropolitan Museum of Art
This famous piece had to be repainted, because the original had a fallen strap. Strumpet! Happens to the best of us though, on the real.
Remember the past, you guys? #history
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Editor-at-Large, Cultbytes Alexandra Bregman has written for The Wall Street Journal, Architectural Digest, The Art Newspaper, and the Asian Art Newspaper among others. She began her career with internships at Christie's and Gagosian gallery 10 years ago, later traveling to India and France for work and ghostwriting for a global CEO. Bregman spent time at Université Paris IV-Sorbonne, and completed degrees at Smith College and Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. l igram |