The Momentary Flag Project: Kat Richards
Kat Richards’s work IN SERVICE FOR REPAIR captures observations about the damaged state of contemporary society, its roots in colonization, and a need for repair. The flag represents that need using the visual language of informative signs and objects, and invites us to pause and take note of the message—as well as ask who may be sending it.
Richards shared more about their work in a 2022 interview with Curatorial Associate Taylor Jasper—learn more about the work in the artist’s own words below.
Presented as part of the Momentary Flag Project.
Free, no tickets required.
AN INTERVIEW WITH THE ARTIST
Taylor Jasper: Tell me about your flag—in particular, can you elaborate on any visual references or context for better understanding IN SERVICE FOR REPAIR?
Kat Richards: Print media is all around us daily in ways that are both unnoticed yet vital. This shows up in our lives through objects like receipts, newspapers, identification cards, cash, tickets, flyers, and informational signs. IN SERVICE FOR REPAIR is inspired by these overlooked but essential informative gestures that give evidence to our values and actions. I took visual design and language from a construction sign that originally states “Out of Service for Repair” and changed one word.
I see this ambiguous phrase as a very relevant message to the state of Arkansas, and this country that has foundationally been in a state of violence and disrepair since colonization touched this land. A need for repair intersects many of our lives through history, legislation, and socialized behaviors. In a traditional sense, this flag does not signal pride, friend, or foe, but instead offers a sweeping observation.
TJ: What do you hope this flag communicates to our visitors and guests? What conversations do you hope it starts or expands?
KR: The construction color orange breaks the blue sky, and with that, my motive to create a cautionary questioning pause. I invite visitors to ask what is broken and who this message is from—it could seem that it is coming from the Momentary or that the flagpole itself is damaged. The phrase “in service for repair” reads in two ways: healing is needed, and aid is to be given. Two interpretations propose acknowledgment and action; this is intended to ask what each looks like in personal and broader conversations.
TJ: What are you currently working on? Are there any upcoming projects you’re excited about?
KR: As of late, I am working with clothing and print ephemera that speaks to approval, authenticity, reward, gender, and passing politics. Like the flag, I am inspired by small indications that are quickly digested and comprehended. In my current project, I am using the foil star stickers children receive as a scaled affirmation for skill or behavior. It is still in the testing phase, but I really enjoy hunting for material and research. No matter what I am working on, I am adamant about having printmaking, painting, and drawing as a stable base in my practice and in a perpetual place of making. So, in that sense, I am also planning prints and creating new motifs.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Printmaking is the foundation of Kat Richards’s (they/them) art practice. Kat received their MFA at Tyler School of Art in 2019 and is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Arkansas. Their work primarily focuses on queer identity, particularly the body, through metaphors of construction, deconstruction, and indexical signaling. They pull from several print-centric influences in their work, which visually manifests depending on medium.
Image credits: Kat Richards (b.1991), IN SERVICE FOR REPAIR, 2022, digital print on nylon.