The Statue of Liberty Has Been a Lightning Rod for Artists for Generations. See Their Many Riffs and Ripostes Here
The ubiquitous image has made her way into artist's imaginations.
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, You know who I am (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 Light of Freedom (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, You know who I am (2022)
Albert Oehlen, Statue of Liberty (1989)
Danh Vo, We The People (2014, detail)
Renee Cox, Chillin’ with Liberty, (1998)
Elmgreen & Dragset, Statue of Liberty (2018)
Robert Rauschenberg, Statue of Liberty (1983)
Eugène Delacroix, July 28, Liberty Leading the People (1830)
Agnes Denes, Wheatfield—A Confrontation (1982)
Florine Stettheimer, New York/Liberty (1918–19)
Hank Willis Thomas, Liberty
Andy Warhol, Statue of Liberty (1986)
Abigail DeVille, Light of Freedom (2020)
Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, The Statue of Liberty Illuminating the World (1875)
Steve McQueen, Static (2009)
Nari Ward, Lazarus (2019)
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