1. Jasper Johns, Flag, 1954–55
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
In the early postwar years, New York’s art scene was dominated by the Abstract Expressionism. By the 1950s, however, younger artists rejected AbEx’s sturm und drang and began to employ objects and images borrowed from everyday life. One of them was Jasper Johns, whose painting Flag caused a sensation. A Southerner by birth, Johns said the idea of painting the American flag came to him in a dream. Taking up the entire canvas, John’s image didn’t just depict a flag, but sort of became one too.
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/pazzambra