Artist Brings 50 Flags From 50 States To NYC

Federal Hall in downtown New York, which sits on the site where George Washington was inaugurated as the first American president in 1789, is hosting a uniquely appropriate exhibition. Mel Ziegler’s Flag Exchange project, which has toured four US cities since 2013, is a presentation of 50 distressed American flags, one collected by the artist from each state between 2011 and 2016, during which Ziegler travelled across the country and offered new

flags for old ones. Ziegler came across his first flag near Nashville, Tennessee, where he lives. “It was hanging from a barn and had been there so long that the white stripes had rotted away and only the red ones remained,” he says. “I thought it was amazing, the way it looked, and then I couldn’t help myself. I just started noticing ragged flags everywhere.” His original intention was exchange flags only at civic buildings, but he eventually expanded his scope. The flags in the exhibition come from private homeowners, a National Guard office and even a casino.

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