The sense of having grown up American permeates Reed's work. The light and flora of his boyhood home in St. Petersburg, Fla. inform his painting as much as a near-encyclopedic knowledge of American film gained in the lifetime habit of watching two to three films a week that began with childhood double-bills for a dime. He does not so much see the historical figures of the 19th- and 20th-century United States through a glass darkly as he simply remembers them differently than do the rest of us, with affection, cynicism and not a little bit of humor. A sort of visual Menckenism occurs in his frequent depictions of Gen. George Armstrong Custer and Whistler's Mother inhabiting dozens of odd situations as the ultimate passive-aggressive houseguests. Begun on a whim during an exploration of alternate-reality portraiture involving American figures, these two series proved to be among Reed's most enduring motifs.

NB: This online collection will be expanded shortly. Please see our note soliciting your contributions on the CONTACT page.

 

Custer:
Custer at the Boston riots
Custer debates William Jennings Bryan
Custer and nudes with cake, ca. 1980
Custer in Central Park, ca. 1980
Custer in Colorado, 1976 (Mack Reed)
Custer visits his grave, 1976 (Moynihans)
Custer at San Simeon, 1973
Custer and the Indians, 1977 (Mack Reed)
Custer with Lester Lanin, 1970
Custer at Pell's Oyster House, 1974 (Miguel Gomez-Ibañez)
Custer on vacation, 1975 (Mack Reed)
Custer with wild west show posters, 1977
Custer at Shelley's pyre, 1975
Custer at Civil War burials, 1972
Custer and the Indians, 1975
Custer with statues, ca. 1970
Custer at Sunset Village, 1974
Custer at Forepaugh's Circus, 1978 (Brandts)
Custer with victoria amasonica, 1974
Custer on the moon, ca. 1976 (Moynihans)

Movies and icons
Carmen Miranda and The Seventh Seal, 1987 (Mack Reed)
Carmen Miranda and M, 1987 (Mack Reed)
American Flag Alphabet, 1981 (Mack Reed)
Automatic John Wayne, 1975

Mrs. Whistler
Mrs. Whistler in jail, 1991
Mrs. Whistler in Purdah, 1986 (Mack Reed)
Mrs. Whistler at the 1939 World's Fair, 1975 (the artist)
Mrs. Whistler at the theater 1986 (Mack Reed)
Richard Nixon as Yvonne DeCarlo (the artist)
The Veteran, 1976 (Mack Reed)