Americans Only Flags
by Nathaniel Hitchcock
Arts Roxbury, Roxbury, NY
Liberal Arts Roxbury is pleased to present Erick Medel's large-scale installation American's Only Flags in the gallery's front vitrines. The monumental sculpture, occupying all three of the bay windows at Liberal Arts Roxbury, is the first presentation in a series of storefront exhibitions at the gallery, continuing programming during this period of temporary closure.
Erick Medel’s work investigates visual taxonomies specific to American culture. Deconstructing geopolitical languages along vectors of identity, he attempts to decrypt and reconfigure aesthetics of violence and masculinity advanced by American brands of right-wing nationalism. His work questions the dynamics of race, gender and class as they interact with variegated concepts of America.
Medel’s work Americans Only Flags, 2018, is composed of fifty handmade flags--one for each state in the union. The work has been displayed in different configurations: as a planar, singular field, with each flag overlapping on a gallery wall, and standing, attached to poles and lining the bed of a beaten up Ford F-150 pickup truck. At Liberal Arts Roxbury, the configuration appears as a curtain, or wall, visually closing off the gallery windows from the street, mimicking window displays common to Army-Navy Surplus stores. The work appears in all three vitrines of the gallery, formerly the town's general store, known as the Corner Store.
Erick Medel (Mexican, b. 1992) lives and works in Los Angeles, California. He graduated with a Masters of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI. His work has been exhibited across the USA, most recently at Gas Gallery, Los Angeles; and the 2020 Spring Break Art Fair, Los Angeles. He has been included in presentations at Clamp Art, New York; LVL3, Chicago; Stellar Projects, New York; and HOUSING, New York.
Nathaniel Hitchcock interviews Erick Medel