Last summer, Rockefeller Center presented the first edition of “The Flag Project,” replacing the 193 flags that usually surround the ice rink, one for each member country in the United Nations, with flags designed by emerging and established artists (including Carmen Herrera, Hank Willis Thomas, Jeff Koons, Jenny Holzer, KAWS, Laurie Anderson, Sanford Biggers, Sarah Sze, Shantell Martin, and Faith Ringgold), adults and children, to honor how New Yorkers have come together during the pandemic lockdown, celebrating essential workers, the uniqueness of the Big Apple, and/or hope for a promising future.
From March 27 to April 30, Rock Center will be hosting the second stage, featuring eighty-three eight-by-five-foot flags decorated by photographs taken by the general public along with commissioned artists, focusing on New York City’s diverse life and energy and one-of-a-kind spirit and imagination. Tishman Speyer has teamed up with Aperture Foundation for this follow-up, with the finalists chosen by Aperture executive director Chris Boot. As you walk around the area, you will see images of Katz’s Deli, a masked lion in front of the New York Public Library, yellow cabs, kids playing in a fountain, women getting their hair done, a dog with its tongue hanging out, a snowy day in the park, an old subway car, a street-cart coffee cup, two women touching hands, a red flower under a fire escape, skateboarders, and other comforting, familiar scenes of the city. Among the professionals with their own flags are Kwame Brathwaite, Renee Cox, Elliott Erwitt, Roe Ethridge, Nan Goldin, Ryan McGinley, Susan Meiselas, Duane Michals, and Tyler Mitchell.