A Tribute

July 1 - August 31, 2009

Antonio Perez Melero

Born in Spain, Perez Melero began his career in Venezuela where he lived from the late 1950's until the early 1980's. Maintaining workshops in Caracas and New York, he is an artist who exhibits his work internationally and is in public collections which include the Spanish Museum of Contemporary Art, CANTV, Fundarte, the American Institute of Architects, Intel Corporation, the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington DC.

About the Exhibit

Flags are the distinguishing marks of countries, states, territories, and ethnic groups. Long ago they were meant to represent or identify particular family, individual or place, and as a rallying point in battle. At other times they represented entire peoples’ hopes and desires. Symbolically, flags have become the epicenter of what a country stands for and its’ stance within the framework of nations. Animals, trees, religious inscriptions, astronomical signs, such as stars, one solid color, multiple colors, bars or stripes and etc…, are just some types of flags which exist today. Yet there is one flag, which for two hundred and thirty-five years, has stood out from the rest. Created out of the chaos of revolution and the blood of those who sacrificed their lives within that all to deadly process, the flag of the United States is the one flag that is universally recognized.

The flag itself began in many different forms, but finally evolved into what all of us know today, the fifty stars of each state of the union on the left top corner, with bars and stripes on one side working their way downward. It is much more than a piece of cloth, or for that matter, a piece of nylon. This red, white and blue flag represents the birth of a new nation, but within this birthing process, both the successes and failures are plain to see, if one wants to. It constantly reminds us that nothing is ever perfect, but the American people have for the most part carried this symbol of determination and hope, through countless situations, which at first seemed hopeless, but somehow were turned into victory. Once known as the symbol of the arsenal of democracy, thousands sacrificed their lives to help others. While in latter years, it came to represent both the good and bad of a people, it still stood watched over us, constantly reminding us to do better. As administrations come and go, the flag of the United States has remained a constant and it still reminds us of who and what we are. Some have argued that to die for a symbol is ridiculous, and I tend to agree, but our flag is more than just a symbol. It is part of our inner soul and it is a living document of the history of our people. It is the little immigrant baby waving a miniature flag, while it’s’ mother pushes his carriage down the street. It is both the elderly and the young veteran parading down either a large city’s street or a small town avenue. It is the feeling one gets, when he, she, or they see our flag waving in the wind. Yes, it also represents the failures of our society both during its formative and present years. Yet, it also reminds us that even within these problems; the people of the United States have and still are trying to rectify these wrongs. Our flag has been burnt, stepped on and spat upon, some times even by our own people. Yet somehow, it always rises out of the flames and ashes like some proverbial phoenix. And they are still coming to America!

Within this particular framework, comes Antonio Perez Melero’s symbolism of our country’s heritage. Within his unique style, Melero first lets’ his viewers look at a typical American flag, but while looking at the stars and bars, the flag disappears and one is now looking at parts of New York, acres of grain, a small town and other views of the United States. All of which represents what the United States was and still is. The meaning is very clear and Melero capitalizes on the idea that our flag represents much more than a piece of cloth.