Tuesday, July 17News That Matters

Universities fly defaced American flag in the name of art

Students are complaining of a defaced American flag flying at the University of Kansas.

On the flag is a splatter-paint outline of the United States, but divided in half with a black and white striped sock in the corner. It is meant to represent the polarized political climate, according to the artist, Josephine Meckseper.

“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 UN Human Rights Council,” artist Josephine Meckseper stated. “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.”

Meckseper’s flag is a part of a larger project called “Pledges of Allegiance” and is flying at more than one American university. At KU, it’s sponsored by the Spencer Art Museum and an academic program called The Commons. It is also on display at art museums at Cornell University, the University of South Florida, Rutgers University, and Texas State University.

The overall project was commissioned by Creative Time, a New York–based public arts non-profit. Other flags read “Don’t Worry, Be Angry” and “THINK PEACE – ACT PEACE – SPREAD PEACE – IMAGINE PEACE.”

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KU student Victoria Snitsar called the art display “absolutely abhorrent.”

The flag at KU is not inside an art museum, but rather flown outside of Spooner Hall, the oldest continuously used academic structure on campus.

“One of the big issues I have with KU is that it is being flown on a flag pole directly across from the Student Union, where hundreds of prospective students can see it on their way to orientation and be exposed to the University as a bastion of anti-American sentiment,” Snitsar told Red Alert Politics. “If the Spencer Museum of Art wants to display this, they can do so in a box in their building.”

The project began on Flag Day in June 2017 and ends this month. The University of Kansas did not respond to request for comment in time for publication.

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