At the new Mint Museum, I chose a painting called “Clock Speed,” an American artwork of oil and enamel on canvas created in 1986 by Edward Ruscha. The painting is part of the New Visions: Contemporary Masterworks exhibit from the Bank of America Collection, being displayed from October 2010 to April 2011.
The artwork actually has a deeper intellectual content than one would see immediately. “Clock Speed” is actually a term that defines the speed of a computer. The first thing that catches a person’s eye is the big flag in the background, once they look past the grid in the foreground, which suggests stars in the night. The artwork portrays patriotism as the flag waves in the night.
The artwork is soft in its nature, supported by many different elements. The flag uses smooth, more curved lines to portray horizontal motion as it waves through the air. The sturdy flagpole can be seen faintly in the background and fades near the top to bring more attention to the flag. The grid of stars is shown deep on a three-dimensional axis, and those lines are formed by bright white dots that spread out though the work. Extraneous dots look like skyscrapers or house lights. The middle vertical line is brightest to bring your attention to the flag.
Space and a one-point perspective the flag and stars forward to make it look like a person is looking at the artwork from an elevated area, but by the extraneous dots (referred to earlier), it makes the “city” look very far away. Everything in the artwork looks to point to the downward right corner, as if that’s where it wants the viewer to end up.
The night sky is an accurate representation, using different values of blue to make the stars, and clouds in the sky. However, the flag is not. The right colors are used, but there are two things of concern: first, the flag only has 9 stripes [instead of 13], and there are only 34 stars [out of 50]. Was this to say something about our nation? Highly doubtful, one could still figure...