Freemasonry in Modern art.

Many Masonic brethren may not realize, but Freemasonry is still prevalent in modern art today. Specifically the Shriners, recognized by their characteristic Red fez’s and jackets. The art portrays them as mid-century (1950’s) party animals, typically caught in the act.

These pieces come from the artist Josh “Shag” Angle who has utilized their imagery in a very specific way. Weaving these characters in from the 50’s is a great cultural example of their notoriety (or infamy) in the cultural landscape. Now, Shag links them with “consumerism and consumption, more of a commentary on the activities, but unfortunately depicting them in their regalia. Rightly so, perhaps there is a reason and recollection to the Shiners and their partying. One such example I can find is a story going back to 1937, where in Detroit an army of 100,000 converged on the city for a 3 day convention to elect an imperial potentate. Conducting a search on Goggle actually finds several mentions of Shriner parties in the past.

Undoubtedly, this is some of the collective remembrance of society. The Shriners party, the Shriners is Freemasons, and so both must not be temperate. Has this impacted the shifting conservative mind of the American public? Did the Baby Boom generation grow up hearing stories about these parties, and collectively log them as something our Grandparents did, so it’s not for me.

It really seems that there was a place in the world for these things, and that as society was more external and open to a sense of social civil society, these activities were more commonplace. Have we shifted to a more selfish and isolated consumption filled world? Perhaps the editorial message in Shag’s paintings are more a commentary on today and how we remember the past to justify our consumerism today. Remember, there were no Wal-Marts in the 1950’s, at least not in the way they appear today, and that a disposable wasteful society was looked down upon.

Did the baby boom generation fail Freemasonry? Did it fail America?

Images Borrowed from Shag.
Shag’s art is featured in Juxtapoz magazine; they have become a part of contemporary art.


~ by Greg on January 20, 2006.

One Response to “Freemasonry in Modern art.”

  1. Brethren,

    Please join us at the Burning Taper blog for the Masonic Haiku Contest. Post your best Masonic-themed 17 syllable poem at

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