An art exhibition on 'Deconstructing the Minnesota Flag'

A person poses for a portrait
Artist Luis Fitch poses in front of "No Farmer," one of a series of eight iterative flags he created for the "Deconstructing the Minnesota Flag" exhibition.
Courtesy of the artist

Minneapolis artist and designer Luis Fitch has been thinking about the controversial Minnesota state flag and seal a lot

About a month ago, Fitch became chair of the State Emblems Redesign Commission, but he’s been planning a show about the flag since before the commission even existed. 

It’s the focus of his new solo exhibition, “Deconstructing the Minnesota Flag: A Design and Branding Exploration,” which opened Oct. 12 at North Hennepin Community College’s Joseph Gazzuolo Fine Art Gallery in Brooklyn Park, Minn.

“This was pure art and pure exercise,” Fitch says. “To explore the symbolism, the history and obviously the cultural significance behind each design element.”

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In the show, Fitch presents eight large flags he’s designed, starting with a recreation of Minnesota’s original. With each one, he strips out another element, from the white settler and the Native man on horseback to the landscape, dates and even the blue background.

“For any state in the United States, [a flag] is really a brand. It’s what we stand for,” Fitch says. “There’s a great opportunity to represent the state of Minnesota in a new way, better than what we have right now.”

deconstructed version of the minnesota flag
"No stars, no flowers" by Luis Fitch.
Courtesy of Luis Fitch

Fitch cautions that the flag designs in the show are in no way proposals, but rather are meant to spark conversation and ideas for Minnesotans to submit their own flag proposal.

Submissions are open until Oct. 30. Fitch says they have already received about 500 submissions.

“A lot of people are asking why do we need a new flag?” Fitch says. “Hopefully, if you go to this exhibit, you will see why.”

“Deconstructing the Minnesota Flag” will be on view until mid-December.

Correction (Oct. 13, 2023): A photo caption in an earlier version of this story misidentified Luis Fitch's "No Farmer" flag.

This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment‘s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.