The Wende Museum, an art museum and historical archive of the Cold War located in Culver City, CA, presents contemporary work referencing flags and banners alongside Cold War-era political flags from communist countries in the new exhibition 'The Medium is the Message: Flags and Banners'. Included in the presentation are three multi-purpose quilts by Lara Schnitger. In addition to static display, they are designed in such a way that they can be be packed efficiently for travel, attached to wooden dowels and carried through the streets as part of Suffragette City, the artist’s hybrid procession-protest piece, which has been staged in cities across the world, spreading a message of female empowerment.
Originally used to identify soldiers in battle and ships in international waters, flags have represented large geographic territories since the rise of the nation-state beginning in the late eighteenth century. For decades, artists have repurposed flags to change or subvert their original meaning, and protestors and counterculture movements worldwide have capitalized on their strong symbolic value and identity-shaping qualities.