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KU takes changed American flag art after security concerns, criticism from Governor | News, Sports, Jobs



Photo by: Kim Callahan

On Wednesday, July 11, 2018, a man in a public art exhibition in front of the Spooner Hall of the KU announces a modified American flag.

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From: Journal-World Staff

Security concerns prompted the University of Kansas to remove an art installation that featured a modified US flag, Chancellor Douglas Girod said in a statement.

The flag was removed just before 4: 30 pm Wednesday was followed by fierce criticism from conservatives from Kansas, including Governor Jeff Colyer and several political candidates for the State and Congress Office.

In his statement published on the KU website, Girod identified security concerns when deciding to remove the flag.

"Throughout the day, the conversation surrounding this display has raised concerns about public safety for our campus community," Girod said. "While we want to promote a difficult dialogue, we can not allow this dialogue to endanger our people or property."

The flag is relocated to the Spencer Museum of Art of the KU, which was partner of the one-year national art project "1

9659012". Photo by: Associated Press

A work of art called Untitled (Flag 2), flies on campus The University of Kansas at Lawrence, Kan., Wednesday, July 11, 2018. It is part of a series of flag pieces flown on the Lawrence campus in recent months as part of a national art project. (AP Photo / Orlin Wagner)


By: Journal-World Staff

The University of Kansas hosted a modified US flag on Wednesday afternoon that was part of a multi-month public art exhibit on campus.

The flag was removed from its place KU's Spooner Hall just before 16.30

Less than an hour before the eviction said the office of Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer that Chancellor Douglas Girod had promised to destroy the flag.

Photo by: Kim Callahan

A man takes off a modified American flag in a public art exhibit in front of KU's Spooner Hall, Wednesday, July 11, 2018.


From: The Associated Press

Kansas spokesman Jeff Colyer spokesman said the University of Kansas' top administrator had promised to destroy an art exhibit with a modified US flag.

Colyer spokesman Kendall Marr said the governor spoke Wednesday afternoon with university chancellor Douglas Girod about the display. Marr said Girod promised that the modified flag would be demolished quickly.

The governor had called the display disrespectfully to the flag. Both he and Foreign Minister Kris Kobach said they should remove it.

The piece "Untitled (Flag 2)" is the last of a series of flag pieces flown on the Lawrence campus since last fall. Part of a national art project "Pledges of Allegiance", involving 11 institutions at 14 locations in the involved in the whole country.


Original Story

A Kansas Congressman opposes a public art project at the University of Kansas, calling the artwork "an unrecognizable American flag" respectful of military members.

Steve Watkins, a combat veteran and Republican nominee for the 2nd Congressional District of Kansas, sharply criticized the university in a statement Tuesday for his ad of "Untitled (Flag 2)", a play by German artist Josephine Meckseper. The flag, which resembles the American flag but has additional images, is the last of a series of flag pieces that have flown across the campus of KU in recent months, as part of a national project called "Pledges of Allegiance." KU were brought.

On Wednesday afternoon, the governor of Kansas joined the criticism and "demanded" to tear down the flag.

"The disrespectful display of a disgraced American flag on the campus of the KU is absolutely unacceptable, and men and women have fought and bled for this flag, and using them in this way is more than disrespectful." I have with Ku Chancellor Doug Girod and Board of Regents President Blake Flanders expressed my disappointment that a taxpayer-funded institution would allow such an exhibit of our sacred flag, and I demand that it be lifted immediately, "said Governor Jeff Colyer in a press release

photo by: Associated Press

A work of art called Untitled (Flag 2), flying on Wednesday, July 11, 2018 on the campus of the University of Kansas at Lawrence, Kan is part of a series of flag pieces in recent years Months on a national art project on the Lawrence campus. (AP Photo / Orlin Wagner)

Watkins's statement did not mention the public art project or the context behind it, though he recognized that it was an artist who created the flag.

"To those who trample, burn, or deface the flag, thank a soldier," began Watkins. "It hurts to see a blemished flag flying at the University of Kansas."

In his statement, Watkins alluded to fallen soldiers and the symbolism of the American flag.

"My thoughts turn to my friends whose coffins are wrapped in our flag," he said. "I am sorry that a Kansan would deface our symbol of strength, unity and patriotism."

The flag artist, Meckseper, was commissioned by Creative Time , a New York City-based public-arts nonprofit organization, to create the piece as part of the group's "Pledges of Allegiance" project. She lives in New York City and it's unclear if she ever lived in Kansas.

KU is one of eleven institutions in 14 locations across the country to participate in "Pledges of Allegiance" which, according to their creators, "should create a sense of community among cultural institutions" in the midst of the divisive political climate of the nation. KU's Spencer Museum of Art and The Commons were partners in the project at KU.

According to a press release published by the university last fall, each participating artist was tasked with "addressing a topic for which the artist is passionate and talking about how the country could progress collectively."

In an artist's statement On the Creative Time website, Meckseper described her work as a collage from the American flag "and one of my dripping paintings that resembles the contours of the United States."

"I shared the shape of the country in two for the flag design, which reflects a deeply polarized country in which a president candidly praises the harassment of women and withdraws from the Kyoto Protocol and the UN Human Rights Council", said in her statement.

The black-and-white sock in the lower-left corner of the play "gains new symbolic significance in light of the recent imprisonment of immigrant children at the border," Meckseper said, adding, "Let's not forget that we all came from somewhere and are new recently resident in this country – local cultures knew that they had taken much better care of this continent thousands of years ago – it is time for our differences to unite rather than separate. "

Watkins said in of his statement, the American flag "embodies the lives that were sacrificed to protect the rights used to destroy them."

"I have no claims from the artist, the university administration, or the students, besides that – to thank a soldier, "said Watkins.

Meckseper's piece is the last of 16 flags created for the project "Pledges of Allegiance", which started at the KU in November and runs until July 30th. It was installed on the campus of KU in Spooner Hall near Commons last week.

When a statement was issued for the Spencer Museum, Elizabeth Kanost declined to comment and referred all questions about the art project to the university's director of news and media relations, Erinn Barcomb-Peterson, who later responded with a statement Wednesday morning. Her statement did not refer to Watkins' criticism, but provided a background for the Pledges of Allegiance project, including information about funding the project.

"& # 39; Pledges of Allegiance & # 39;" is a nationwide public art project. The work started on July 5 and is nationwide at 13 locations. It's being financed with private money, "Barcomb-Peterson wrote in an e-mail." At the start of the project, partners included the Spencer Museum of Art and The Commons, including the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Cornell's Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. "

The Spencer Museum, however, responded to criticism of the artwork on Tuesday on Twitter: