Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence – it is also a time to celebrate by wearing red, white, and blue, eating hotdogs and watching fireworks!
Firework shows are a major Fourth of July tradition. These celebratory spectacles take a ton of coordination to ensure that the sky becomes a work of art!
The Grucci family of New York are known as “America’s First Family of Fireworks.” The family began their firework business in 1850. The family considers themselves to be filled with curators and artists, and were responsible for some of history’s best firework shows including the Statue of Liberty Centennial, the Olympic Games and seven Presidential Inaugurations.
Although firework technology has not changed much over the years, other than the shapes changing into a star or smiley face, fireworks still remain a widely popular form of entertainment. In an interview with TIME Magazine in 2009, the Grucci family commented on the fact that fireworks cannot be repetitive in order to continue engaging audiences, “Fourth of July fireworks are ageless. It’s really a misnomer to try and get a “cutting edge.” As long as it’s a nice show and has a certain continuity to it, people love it.”
One Chinese artist recently ‘exploded’ into the art world. Cai Guo-Qiang is best known for his gunpowder works. Using gunpowder, he has also experimentred with large-scale explosives, which have developed into “explosion events.” His most recent Mystery Circle took place in Los Angeles at the Museum of Contemporary Art. The event used a combination of gunpowder, 40,000 mini rockets, 100 girandolas, 62 Tourbillion mines…and it lasted approximately 2 minutes! Check out more of Guo-Qiang’s works here.
Israeli fine art photographer Ori Gersht focuses on themes of trauma such as the Holocaust in his works. He is known for his exploration of the relationship between photography and painting, past and present and reality and fiction. His Exploding Flowers and Other Matters series capture flowers at the moment of explosion at a transitory fraction. These photographs play on our visual perception of reality. The theme of trauma translates to these images of exploding flowers since flowers often symbolize peace, but in these images they have become the subject of brutality – it becomes a sort of uneasy beauty. More of Ori Gersht’s works at Brand New Gallery here.
Paddle8 wishes everyone a fun and safe Fourth of July celebration!