Conservative Americans do get extraordinarily upset when you do things to their national flag, so it’s probably a good thing that Cali Thornhill Dewitt has chosen Copenhagen to exhibit his latest collection. The Canadian-born, Los Angeles-based artist has added all sorts of subversive messages to Old Glory; the flag is employed as a powerful symbol of government and nationalistic pride, but here the pompous ideals of Western society are punctured with sharp messages reflecting the reality faced by many of its citizens, from poverty – “I Eat Out of Your Garbage Cans” reads one flag – to a funereal sculptural arrangement attacking capital punishment.
In fairness to America though, if that’s an appropriate expression, Thorhill Dewitt does point out that the Stars and Stripes could be replaced with the flags of Russia or the European Union and the same points hold true. The artist employs some powerful photographic imagery to further drive home his commentary, juxtaposing the world as it is against the rhetoric of our times. Planes break apart or drop bombs as homilies on values ring out through fixed grins, Old Glory becomes Glory Hole as bullets hit home. Busted on the Hot Spots is running at V1 Gallery until 21 March.