San Francisco

“Flag Show”

Green Gallery

For the most part this exhibition consists of flippant Pop Art leg-pulls and tongue-in-cheek blasphemies designed to draw fire from John Birchers and the like. Many of these spoofs revert to the theme of Henry Miller’s book The Air-Conditioned Nightmare, combining American flag motifs with objects suggesting the more pedestrian aspects of mass culture and mass-media commercialism. Outstanding in this genre is Art Grant’s optically gimmicky television screen with undulating striations and asterisk stars that rotate against one another in cog-wheel fashion. There are obvious political overtones in a gaudy assemblage of Welch’s candy-wrappers, while, on the other hand, Knute Stiles’ collage-heraldry of picturesque Olive Oil labels, picture postcards and the like, is flamboyant and innocently a-political. The show as a whole is primarily an amusing bit of timely election-season horseplay by artists with an inventive talent for audacious ribaldry and clever satirical slapstick.

Palmer D. French