From coast to coast, at 21 institutions in 16 states, a flag designed by Rirkrit Tiravanija is now flying as the 12th entry in Creative Time’s “Pledges of Allegiance” project, which has commissioned a big group of artists to conceive flags in a spirit of political resistance. Across a white version of the American flag with thin black lines, Tiravanija has superimposed the words “FEAR EATS THE SOUL.” “The best flag so far,” one of my colleagues declared this morning. I concur!
As Tiravanija fans know, that four-word phrase, a reference to the 1974 Fassbinder classic Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, has figured repeatedly in the artist’s work over the years. He has made a bar named Untitled 1994 (Fear Eats the Soul) and used the four-word phrase for his great 2011 show at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise in New York, which featured among its offerings a T-shirt-printing operation, a soup kitchen, and those words spelled out with graffiti on the gallery’s walls. He has also printed it on posters, a billboard, and newspapers, and displayed it on at least one electronic traffic sign.
Here’s the full list of venues for the flag. Go grab some tasty soup, a hearty pad thai, or a few friends and go have a look!