Lauri Lyons: Flag International and Flag: An American Story
September 11 – October 11, 2008
Opening Reception: Thursday, September 11, 6-8pm
Umbrella Arts + Projects
317 East 9th Street (between 1st & 2nd Ave)
New York, NY 10003
Both my FLAG series (1995-2007), reveal what is beneath the surface of the American dream by looking beyond statistics and into the minds of ordinary citizens—native-born, naturalized, or foreign—whose feelings about America not only tell the reader what the country is, but also what it should be. Through each subject’s photographs and hand-written statements about America, the reader became aware of the beauty, violence, racism, hope, and inequity that created the American cultural fabric of the late twentieth century. I concluded – ‘As Americans, we are who we choose to be, and that may all change tomorrow.’ That statement was published before 9/11, the Patriot Act, Homeland Security, Abu Ghraib, and before the occupation of Iraq. All these events compelled me to ask, what has become of America?
From 1995 to 2000 I traveled via train across the United States photographing and interviewing people with the American flag. The culmination of my journey is the book Flag: An American Story (2001). During the summer of 2007, I decided to explore Europe with the American flag and investigate how the international community views the United States in the 21st Century. With the American flag, I traveled throughout eight countries via rail, bus, and ferry. The result of my journey is Flag International, a multi-media documentary project which incorporates photography, video, audio, and handwritten text.