Six artists reimagined the American flag at the request of The New York Times, and people weren’t sure whether to laugh or cry.
The mainstream media now considers the flag and other U.S. national symbols borderline right-wing if not hateful.
As part of “Snap Out of It, America!,” a Times series “exploring bold ideas to revitalize and renew the American experiment,” New York City-based artists and graphic designers updated “Old Glory” for this moment.
The design of the American flag shifted frequently until the early 1900s. What if we redesigned the flag today? Take a look.
— New York Times Opinion (@nytopinion) September 30, 2021
2×4, a design consultancy, said they “remade” the flag to so that “the familiar symbolism falls out of focus, giving way to something ambiguous, vague and difficult to define.”
I think this is my favorite @nytimes American flag redesign:
— Dr. Reece Jones (@ReeceJonesUH) September 28, 2021
Andrew Kuo, a Brooklyn-based painter, used a yellow block to represent “Repairing systemic racism” and a green block for “Taking care of our planet.”
— Caroline Petti (@pettiplease) September 30, 2021
Na Kim, an illustrator and art director, explained of his flag: “The gray, monochrome flag represents America surrendering to its fall from power and loss of the ideals it once stood for. The American dream is being washed away.”
A new flag design by Na Kim: "The colors of our flag are intended to stand for unity, valor and justice. The gray, monochrome flag represents America surrendering to its fall from power and loss of the ideals it once stood for. The American dream is being washed away" (NYTimes). pic.twitter.com/t2xJnkKQn6
— Wolfgang Bein (@wwbein) September 28, 2021
Hank Willis Thomas, a conceptual artist, mashed-up the flags of Black Lives Matter, Transgender Pride, Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign and the Thin Blue Line pro-police movement, among others.
Hey, it's the New York Times answering the question no one asked: Why can't we redesign the American flag? It's as bad as you'd expect. | NY Times ‘Redesigned’ the American Flag: It’s WAY Worse Than You Imagine https://t.co/zZb04UP60j pic.twitter.com/gztopCRXiy
— Scott Whitlock (@ScottJW) September 29, 2021
The public response to the Times’ art project was overwhelmingly negative, with even some liberal commentators voicing opposition.
- Eric Erickson, a conservative radio host and blogger, said on Twitter Wednesday: “If exile were an option, the people who participated in this should be exiled.”
- Greg Gutfield, a Fox News host, quipped on his late-night show Wednesday: “The New York Times published redesigns of the American flag because, you know, the current one reeks of white privilege,” before going through several examples.
- Maria Bartiromo, a Fox Business host, asked on air Thursday: “Who came up with these designs, the Chinese Communist Party?”
- Blake Masters, COO of Thiel Capital and President of The Thiel Foundation, tweeted Thursday: “they really hate our country.”
- Sarah Maslin Nir, a staff reporter, wrote in a news article on July 3: “What was once a unifying symbol — there is a star on it for each state, after all — is now alienating to some, its stripes now fault lines between people who kneel while ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ plays and those for whom not pledging allegiance is an affront.”
- Mara Gay, an editorial board member, said on MSNBC in June that she was “disturbed” by the sight of “dozens of American flags” flying in Long Island — and then suggested the resulting backlash was racist while the Times condemned “the attacks on her” as “ill-informed and grounded in bad-faith.”
- The 1619 Project, a Pulitzer-Prize winning Times initiative launched in 2019, explicitly aimed to “reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.”