Jeff Koons, Marina Abramović, and 200 Other Artists Designed Flags That Are Now Flying at New York’s Rockefeller Center

See the new flags by blue-chip names and amateur artists alike.

The Flag Project at Rockefeller Center, photo: courtesy of Tishman Speyer.
The Flag Project at Rockefeller Center. Photo courtesy of Tishman Speyer.

For a few weeks this summer, one of New York’s most iconic landmarks, Rockefeller Center, will become an outdoor art gallery featuring the work of both amateur New York artists and blue-chip stars like KAWS and Marina Abramović alike.

Hundreds of New Yorkers submitted proposals earlier this year to design eight-by-five-foot flags. This past Saturday, the 192 winning designs were unfurled on the flags surrounding the plaza’s ice rink. In addition to the open call, 13 well-known artists—including Carmen Herrera, Faith Ringgold, Hank Willis Thomas, Jeff Koons, Jenny Holzer, Laurie Anderson, Sanford Biggers, Sarah Sze, Shantell Martin, and Steve Powers—were also commissioned to create flags.

Koons’s flag features a colorful argyle background with the letters “NYC” spelled out in shiny gold balloons. KAWS’s design incorporates his “Companion” toys, while Jenny Holzer, whose practice is often rooted in text, created a flag with the word “PROTECT” surrounded by radiating graphic lines. Abramović’s design is based on the spiking line of a heartbeat monitor. The artist explained her inspiration in a statement: “The EKG line of my flag represents the resilience of the human spirit in the color red which symbolizes our blood and is a color I often surround myself with when I need to feel strong. This red line beats across the white flag which symbolizes surrender.”

See images of the installation and selected designs below. The Flag Project is on view at Rockefeller Plaza through August 23, 2020.

The Flag Project at Rockefeller Center, photo: courtesy of Tishman Speyer.

The Flag Project at Rockefeller Center. Photo courtesy of Tishman Speyer.

The Flag Project at Rockefeller Center. Photo courtesy of Tishman Speyer.

Courtesy of KAWS and the Flag Project at Rockefeller Center, (2020).

Courtesy of KAWS and the Flag Project at Rockefeller Center (2020).

Courtesy of Hank Willis Thomas and the Flag Project at Rockefeller Center (2020).

The Flag Project at Rockefeller Center, photo: courtesy of Tishman Speyer.

The Flag Project at Rockefeller Center. Photo courtesy of Tishman Speyer.

Courtesy of Jeff Koons and the Flag Project at Rockefeller Center (2020).

Courtesy of Marina Abramović and the Flag Project at Rockefeller Center, (2020).

Courtesy of Marina Abramović and the Flag Project at Rockefeller Center (2020).

Courtesy of Sarah Sze and the Flag Project at Rockefeller Center (2020).

The Flag Project at Rockefeller Center, photo: courtesy of Tishman Speyer.

The Flag Project at Rockefeller Center. Photo courtesy of Tishman Speyer.

Courtesy of Carmen Herrera and the Flag Project at Rockefeller Center (2020).

Courtesy of Sanford Biggers and the Flag Project at Rockefeller Center (2020).

Courtesy of Jenny Holzer and the Flag Project at Rockefeller Center (2020).

Courtesy of Laurie Anderson and the Flag Project at Rockefeller Center (2020).

Courtesy of Steve Powers and the Flag Project at Rockefeller Center (2020).

Courtesy of Shantell Martin and the Flag Project at Rockefeller Center, (2020).

Courtesy of Faith Ringgold and the Rockefeller Center Flag Project.

Courtesy of Faith Ringgold and the Flag Project at Rockefeller Center (2020).

Courtesy of Christian Siriano and the Rockefeller Center Flag Project.

Courtesy of Christian Siriano and the Flag Project at Rockefeller Center.

 


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