The Statue of Liberty Has Been a Lightning Rod for Artists for Generations. See Their Many Riffs and Ripostes Here

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In honor of the July 4 holiday, we’re taking a look back at some of the most memorable artworks that incorporate, riff on, or subvert both the literal image of the Statue of Liberty, and what it represents.

Paola Pivi’s commission for the High Line in New York, (2022) features a large-scale replica of Lady Liberty wearing various emoji-esque masks, each face representing a person whose individual and specific experience of freedom is linked to the United States. The work was inspired by Pivi’s son, who was born in India and lived stateless there before being adopting Pivi and her husband, and underwent a years-long struggle to gain citizenship and start a new life in America.

Abigail DeVille’s installation  (2020) is a contemporary take on the ubiquitous symbol of Lady Liberty’s torch. The artist was inspired by images from the Black Lives Matter protests that swept the nation in 2020, in which protesters linked arms and raised hands in expressions of solidarity as they marched for equality. The flames of DeVille’s sculpture are made of blue mannequin arms, interlaced and pointing skyward as one unit. “Society has tried to separate us or define us by our bodies,” DeVille said in a 2021 interview, but the sculpture and its message of resilience are a symbol of the power of joining together “collectively… [to] assert something else.”

 

Paola Pivi, (2022)

Paola Pivi, You know who I am (2022). Courtesy of High Line Art.

Albert Oehlen, Statue of Liberty (1989)

Albert Oehlen, Statue of Liberty (1989). Courtesy Christie's Images Ltd. 2016.

Albert Oehlen, Statue of Liberty (1989). Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd. 2016.

Danh Vo, We The People (2014, detail)

Danh Vo, We The People (2014). Courtesy of the artist and the Public Art Fund.

Renee Cox, Chillin’ with Liberty, (1998) 

Renee Cox Chillin With Liberty(1998). Courtesy of the artist, © 2016 Renee Cox.

Renee Cox, Chillin With Liberty (1998). Courtesy of the artist, © Renee Cox.

Elmgreen & Dragset, (2018)

Elmgreen & Dragset, Statue of Liberty, (2018) © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie, 2019 Donation by Heiner Wemhöner, Herford to the Foundation of the Verein der Freunde der Nationalgalerie / Mathias Völzke, © Elmgreen & Dragset.

Robert Rauschenberg,  (1983) 

Robert Rauschenberg, <i>Statue of Liberty</i> (1983). Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Robert Rauschenberg, Statue of Liberty (1983). Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Eugène Delacroix, July 28, Liberty Leading the People (1830)

Eugène Delacroix, July 28, Liberty Leading the People (1830). Courtesy of the Louvre.

Agnes Denes, Wheatfield—A Confrontation (1982)

Agnes Denes, Wheatfield—A Confrontation (1982). Two acres of wheat planted and harvested by the artist on the Battery Park landfill, Manhattan, Summer 1982. Commissioned by Public Art Fund. Courtesy the artist and Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects.

Agnes Denes, Wheatfield—A Confrontation (1982), two acres of wheat planted and harvested by the artist on the Battery Park landfill, Manhattan, during the summer of 1982. Commissioned by Public Art Fund. Courtesy the artist and Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects.

Florine Stettheimer, (1918–19)

Florine Stettheimer, New York/Liberty (1918–1919). © Estate of Florine Stettheimer. Courtesy of Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Hank Willis Thomas,

Hank Willis Thomas’ sculpture in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Photo: Raymond Boyd/Getty Images.

Andy Warhol, (1986)

Andy Warhol, <i>The Statue of Liberty</i> (1986). Courtesy of Christie's Images, Ltd.

Andy Warhol, The Statue of Liberty (1986). Courtesy of Christie’s Images, Ltd.

Abigail DeVille, (2020)

Abigail DeVille, Light of Freedom (2020) Photo by Andy Romer Photography, courtesy of Madison Square Park.

Abigail DeVille, (2020). Photo: Andy Romer, courtesy of Madison Square Park.

Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, The Statue of Liberty Illuminating the World (1875)

Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, Presentation Drawing of The Statue of Liberty Illuminating the World (1875). Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Steve McQueen, (2009)

Steve McQueen, Static (2009). Courtesy of Tate.

Nari Ward,  (2019)

Nari Ward, <i>Lazarus</i>. © Nari Ward. Courtesy of the Vilcek Foundation.

Nari Ward, Lazarus (2019). © Nari Ward. Courtesy of the Vilcek Foundation.

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