Contemporary art forces us to ask questions about the role of art within our lives, about society, and about ourselves. John Bell’s painting presents a perfect example by offering an unexpected representation of America. The title references “The Star-Spangled Banner,” America’s national anthem. When we think about the national anthem, we think of sporting events, Fourth of July festivities, and elementary-school presentations. Yet, baseball, hot dogs, and singing children don’t appear in this painting. Instead we see a fragmented flag, guns, and scenes of frivolity alongside images of potential violence. This work offers a grown-up appraisal of issues surrounding America’s policies and appearances, both at home and abroad. What does Bell’s work inspire us to consider about our identity as Americans?