National Anthem | Beyond the Nest (Rochester)

National Anthem

Kota Ezawa’s “National Anthem” series includes watercolors, lightboxes, and a single-channel video, all of which depict NFL athletes engaging in peaceful protests against police brutality and the oppression of people of color in the US. The centerpiece of the project, the critically acclaimed video installation National Anthem (2018), features a soundtrack of “The Star-Spangled Banner” while the artist’s distinctive watercolor animation shows players “taking a knee” on the field.

Please help us keep this calendar up to date! If this activity is sold out, canceled, or otherwise needs alteration, email so we can update it immediately.

The two-minute video, in which the artist “stitched” his individual watercolors together to create a lyrical animation over which a string quartet plays the American National Anthem, was first exhibited at the 2019 Whitney Biennial and was highly praised by the public and art critics alike. Ezawa painted the individual watercolors based upon live camera footage of seminal moments in the controversial protests: teammates linking arms in solidarity; the eerie vacancy when players were banned from on-field protests; and former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, “taking a knee” in protest for the first time in 2016.

The “National Anthem” series is an extension of Ezawa’s affinity for representing and responding to popular culture and newsworthy events through the lens of flattened, delicate watercolors and animations. Past artworks by Ezawa include depictions of the assassinations of Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy, and the OJ Simpson verdict, a work that is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art. Kota Ezawa has exhibited his art in solo exhibitions at Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA; Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH; St. Louis Art Museum, MO; Artpace, San Antonio, TX; the Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT, among others.

*Times, dates, and prices of any activity posted to our calendars are subject to change. Please be sure to click through directly to the organization’s website to verify.


Memorial Art Gallery


Memorial Art Gallery 500 University Avenue
Rochester, NY, 14607
United States


(585) 276-8900,
Contact name: 
Memorial Art Gallery
Wednesday through Sunday: 11 am-5 pm | Thursdays: 11 am-9 pm | select Fridays until 9 pm


Adults & kids together Adults without kids