The Ghost of Liberty

Media - 2012.51.3 - SAAM-2012.51.3_2 - 138873
Copied Enrique Chagoya, The Ghost of Liberty, 2004, color lithograph with chine collé on amate paper, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Susanne Joyner, 2012.51.3, © 2004, Enrique Chagoya

Artwork Details

The Ghost of Liberty
Not on view
sheet and image: 11 12 × 85 in. (29.2 × 215.9 cm) closed: 11 12 × 7 34 in. (29.2 × 19.7 cm)
© 2004, Enrique Chagoya
Credit Line
Gift of Susanne Joyner
Mediums Description
color lithograph with chine collé on amate paper
Object Number

Artwork Description

Over twenty-five years ago, Chagoya adopted the format of the Mesoamerican codex as a vehicle to explore contemporary history. He made this print in the years following 9/11, when Americans questioned President George W. Bush's decision to invade Iraq. Chagoya's codex, which reads from right to left and is made of amate paper like the historic forms that inspired it, mixes incongruous visual references from the Lone Ranger and Tonto to plumed serpents, dinosaurs, Arabic and Chinese text, flying saucers, and much more. His narrative is open to interpretation, but his title suggesting the eclipse of liberty and his appropriation of Hollywood racial stereotypes offers enough fodder to spark debate.

¡Printing the Revolution! The Rise and Impact of Chicano Graphics, 1965 to Now, 2020