Sunday, July 6, 2008

AMERICAN SYMBOLS at SF Museum of Craft and Folk Art

Collaged Flag, 1943
Maker Unidentified
Paper stamps and envelopes, ink
Collected by Kit Hinrichs

My friend and I went to San Francisco today, to see the Frida Kahlo exhibit at SFMOMA and the new Contemporary Jewish Museum. Both were interesting, but the highlight of the day was visiting the San Francisco Museum of Craft and Folk Art, which has relocated from its former location at Fort Mason to it's new location in the SF Yerba Buena Museum District.

SFMOCFA's current show is American Symbols: From Lady Liberty to the Stars and Stripes. This exhibit features American folk art and crafts with Lady Liberty, Uncle Sam, or the American Eagle designs, but the Flag dominated the exhibit. I learned that the exact pattern of the stars was not specified prior to 1912, so there are several flags in the exhibit that do not follow the "standard design".

I quilt and crochet, so I studied the modern quilt, crazy quilt, filet-crochet, and penny-stitch flags very closely. I also collect stamps, so I was overjoyed to see a flag (see above) made from red stamps, postmarks (cut from white envelopes), and blue stamps. Many of the postmarks encouraged people to WWII War Bonds. My friend was particularly moved by the Lakota Gauntlet Gloves and the Cheyenne Flag Moccasins, incorporating the US Flag in Native American Pow-Wow regalia. And everyone stopped to admire the gorgeous 1912 Japanese-American Friendship Kimono (delivered to President Taft along with the Cherry Trees that line the Potomac).

Many of the items in the show were collected by artist/educator (and Eagle Scout) Kit Hinrichs. For more about Kit Hinrich's Americana collection, see: STUDIO MADE FOR THE STARS AND STRIPES. Also checkout Kit Hinrichs' books: 100 American Flags: A Unique Collection of Old Glory Memorabilia (2008) and Long May She Wave: A Graphic History of the American Flag (2001). Kit Hinrichs is also participating in a new exhibit, Thoughts on Democracy, now on display at the Wolfsonian Museum, FL.

Whether you are in California, Florida, cyberspace, or your local bookstore, please see Kit Hinricks art and collections--you will learn a lot about Americana. When you are in San Francisco, visit San Francisco Museum of Craft and Folk Art--you will see great art!

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