Kansas candidate criticizes flag art display at university

KU flag.jpg

Steve Watkins, a Republican candidate for Kansas’ 2nd Congressional District, says a public art project involving an altered U.S. flag at the University of Kansas is disrespectful to the military. Watkins says it hurts him to see the altered flag at the university.

The piece, called Untitled (Flag 2), is the last of a series of flag pieces that have flown on the Lawrence campus in the last several months as part of a national art project. Kansas is one of 11 institutions at 14 locations participating in “Pledges of Allegiance” project, which organizers say is designed to address social issues and inspire community among cultural institutions.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports the flag includes two black shapes that the artist, Josephine Meckseper, says represents a deeply polarized country. It also includes a black and white sock that Meckseper says takes on new meaning during the current controversy over immigration.

Governor Jeff Colyer released the following statement condemning the defacement of an American flag flying on the campus of the University of Kansas.

“The disrespectful display of a desecrated American flag on the KU campus is absolutely unacceptable. Men and women have fought and bled for that flag and to use it in this manner is beyond disrespectful. I have communicated with KU Chancellor Doug Girod and Board of Regents President Blake Flanders to express my disappointment that a taxpayer funded institution would allow such a display of our sacred flag, and I demand that it be taken down immediately.”

Kansas Representative Ron Estes also released a statement following the appearance of the flag at the University of Kansas. 

“Generations of brave men & women have fought to defend our flag & protect the right to free speech, including using art as an expression of beliefs. However, flying a defaced American flag is not ‘art’ and should be removed from the KU campus immediately,” said Estes. 


Creative Time Headquarters
59 East 4th Street, NY, NY

21C Museum Hotel Durham
111 Corcoran St, Durham, NC

The Commons, in partnership with the Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas
1340 Jayhawk Blvd, Lawrence, KS

Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University
114 Central Ave, Ithaca, NY

Mid-America Arts Alliance
2018 Baltimore Ave, Kansas City, MO

Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit
4454 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI

Old Stone House
336 3rd Street, Brooklyn, NY

RISD Museum
224 Benefit Street, Providence, RI

536 Congress Street, Portland, ME

Texas State Galleries
233 West Sessom Drive, San Marcos, TX

The Union for Contemporary Art
2423 N 24th Street, Omaha, NE

University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum
3821 USF Holly Drive, Tampa, FL

Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University
71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick, NJ

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