Flags fly high as part ‘A More Perfect Union’

At Skidmore College's Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, 50 American flags hang dramatically from
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Got something to say about America?

At Skidmore College’s Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, you are invited to step onto a very large “soapbox” and speak your mind into a microphone.

Above this platform, 50 American flags hang dramatically from the ceiling.

“A More Perfect Union,” which runs through Jan. 1, was inspired by the “Flag Exchange” project by Mel Ziegler, a conceptual and social interventionist artist. Ziegler traveled around the country with brand-new American flags. When he saw a worn flag, he did a trade, with the goal of collecting a flag from every state.

Looking upward in the Tang, one wonders exactly where each raggedy-edged flag flew and how many people gazed upon it, saluted it or said the pledge of allegiance while standing under it.

The smallest banner, from Nebraska, is about four feet long, and the biggest, about 14 feet, comes from Arkansas.

The American flag “represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing,” says the label text, stealing a quote from 1923 National Flag Convention.

On Saturday, which is Frances Day at the Tang, you can see the flags and have some fun, too. Scheduled from noon to 6 p.m., the free community celebration features art-making activities, a poetry workshop, live music by The Parlor, pop-up dance performances and tours of the exhibits, including “Borrowed Light,” which traces the history of photography with 150 images selected from the collection of Jack Shear. Union College professor Charles Steckler will lead a photography walking tour of the museum.

And it’s not too late to send your pictures of American flags to the Tang by email or social media.

“So far, we’ve gathered 100 flag images via social media and email,” says Michael Janairo, the Tang’s assistant director for engagement.

“We are still collecting them. They have come from 12 states, Washington D.C., and Ontario, Canada, from as far away as Arizona and Washington State, and as close as Saratoga Springs.”

If you see any kind of U.S. flag imagery, share it on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. Use the hashtags #FlagExchange and #TangMuseum and caption your photo with where and when it was taken. You can also email images and information to [email protected]

Flag photos are posted at http://tang.skidmore.edu and on the museum’s Facebook page.

The Tang is doing tours this summer, too.

Curators’ tours are scheduled at 5:30 p.m. Friday and on July 22 and Aug. 19; at noon on Aug. 2 and Aug. 9.

Call for entries

Artists living in New York state are invited to submit entries to the Annual Juried Art Show hosted by the Arkell Museum and Canajoharie Library.

Celebrating 20 years, the show is open to artists working in any media and will be juried by J. Bruce Schwabach, former associate professor of fine arts at Herkimer County Community College.

The show is scheduled Nov. 4 through Jan. 4.

The application deadline is Sept. 16.

For more information, go to www.arkellmuseum.org/museum-activities or contact Mary Beth Vought by email at [email protected] or call 673-2314.

Reach Gazette reporter Karen Bjornland at 395-3197, [email protected] or on Twitter @bjorngazette.

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