Rochester Art Center presents Katie Hargrave: How to Fold L’Étoile du Nord

Rochester Art Center presents Katie Hargrave: How to Fold L’Étoile du Nord an exhibition on view April 26 – July 14, 2013.

Katie Hargrave utilizes community-oriented research to investigate the creation of mythologies, the historical record, and the landscape. For several years, her research has focused on the intentional development of city, state, and national identity through symbols of state and national pride. Principally, these include images appearing on maps, lines that demarcate and assign borders, our shared histories via the lens of museums, and most specifically, the elements and imagery of state flags. By design, flags can allow for a codified, simple method to demonstrate our identity to those around us. They are potent and efficient symbols, and when well designed and oft used, are able to carry the weight of our history within their designs.

In this exhibition, Hargrave explores the complex symbolism of the Minnesota state flag. This research manifests itself in multiple installations including native tree identification guides, star charts, county maps, and participatory orchid planting stations. As the symbolism and history of flags are unpacked and questioned, the history and understanding of the state itself becomes topically intertwined. Working with Hargrave, local school children – the usual audience for a state history lesson – have created new flags which will be mass produced and available to visitors.