Art is a highly subjective matter. We all get that.
Still, desecrating the American flag by smearing it with black paint — and then brazenly flying it overhead — is not only an exercise in visual futility, it denigrates those who have sacrificed their time, their energy and often their lives for our collective freedom.
Yet some have the audacity to call it art, including the taxpayer-funded University of Kansas (KU). Until very recently, KU was hosting a display by German artist Josephine Meckseper as part of an ongoing project titled “Pledges of Allegiance,” sponsored by New York City-based Creative Time, according to Campus Reform.
“The flag is a collage of an American flag and one of my dripped paintings which resembles the contours of the United States,” said Meckseper on Creative Time’s website.
“I divided the shape of the country in two for the flag design to reflect a deeply polarized country in which a president has openly bragged about harassing women and is withdrawing from the Kyoto protocol and U.N. Human Rights Council.”
Meckseper added, “The black-and-white sock on my flag takes on a new symbolic meaning in light of the recent imprisonment of immigrant children at the border.”
Not surprisingly, the display sparked ire in many.
“As a U.S. Navy veteran and student at the University of Kansas currently seeking my master’s degree, I find the ‘artwork’ that currently flies at Spooner Hall heinous and abhorrent,” said Ian Appling, according to Campus Reform.
“I do strongly believe in the United States Constitution and swore an oath to defend it,” Appling continued, “which includes the individual citizen’s right to use our flag in an expression of freedom of speech.”
It's outrageous that you would see a public university displaying a desecrated flag. The fact that they call it art does not make it any less of a desecration of our flag. I call upon the university to take down that flag right away. https://t.co/sCFzSHEzI1 #ksleg #TeamKobach
— Kris W. Kobach (@KrisKobach1787) July 11, 2018
It appears Appling’s complaints were taken to heart.
As of late afternoon Wednesday, the tarnished flag had been moved to the school’s art museum — after Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer and other GOP political candidates complained it was disrespectful, according to ABC News.
This is not the first time Old Glory has been desecrated in the name of art on a college campus.
Earlier this year, Lisa Rockford, an assistant art professor at Broward College in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, converted the American flag into a doormat by painting it white, cutting it in half — and putting it on the floor.
Stunts like this are fast becoming cliché. And that’s objective.
Elizabeth Economou is a former CNBC staff writer and adjunct professor. Follow her on Twitter.
(photo credit, homepage and article: Twitter)