U.S.-Mexico Friendship Flag
2013-2020. Digital; mixed media, 40×70″
This unofficial flag of the United States doubles as a symbol of the country’s friendship with its southern neighbor by incorporating elements of American national identity into the 4:7 composition of the flag of Mexico. The vertical tricolor trades green, white, and red for red, white, and blue; the golden eagle for the bald; the cactus for an olive branch; and the rattlesnake for a scroll that reads “E PLURIBUS UNUM” (out of many, one).
The International Friendship Flag Project is an initiative inspired by sister cities, twin towns, and other efforts (symbolic and diplomatic) to build international cooperation, promote cultural understanding, and stimulate economic development. Participation is open to all. The flag shown here serves as one example, encouraging worldwide contributions and the exchange of original creations in a borderless public domain.
Platitudes (400 BC-2020)
Deco Art Gallery, Oakland
2020. Two 5×2’ inkjet prints, teak, leather
Outerspection led the artist to Jenny Holzer’s Truisms (1978-87) and similar works. Among her adages are “SELF-AWARENESS CAN BE CRIPPLING,” “ANY SURPLUS IS IMMORAL,” and “BEING SURE OF YOURSELF MEANS YOU’RE A FOOL.”
And to the Delphic Maxims, a collection of ancient Greek proverbs inscribed into the walls of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi (4th century BC) and authored by its High Priestess, the Pythia. Well known are “KNOW THYSELF,” “NOTHING IN EXCESS,” and “SURETY BRINGS RUIN.”
This installation puts Holzer and the High Priestess in dialogue by presenting the ancient maxims as a work resembling one of the former’s own. The project is a nod to Holzer, who, alongside the Pictures Generation, legitimized pithy statements and appropriation as means of fine art-making, while centering the female ethos as a source of cultural critique. More importantly, it places ancient wisdom under contemporary scrutiny, artistic contemplation, and personal reflection.