A Florida college professor's contribution to a school art exhibit is an American flag apparently severed vertically, painted over white and disguised as a doormat.
Angel Clyman — a spokesman for Broward College's Rosemary Duffy Larson Gallery where the Full-time Faculty Exhibition is running — identified the individual behind the display as Assistant Professor of Art Lisa Rockford, Campus Reform reported.
Rockford did not immediately respond Monday to TheBlaze's request for comment on the display.
Broward College student and disabled Marine Corps veteran Jess Karcher posted a photo of the American-flag-as-doormat exhibit on Facebook.
“When one of the professors tried to stop me from stepping on it, the artist said 'don’t say anything,'” Karcher told Campus Reform. “I did not realize it was a flag until after I left the show and a professor told me what it was. So when I went back down to check it out, [and] it was a flag.” He added to the outlet that the exhibit was designed so visitors unwittingly step on the flag as photos are taken.
Karcher also told Campus Reform that he wrote a complaint letter about the display to school President David Armstrong: “I find this extremely disrespectful and [a] kick in the gut as a veteran. I have lost many friends whose caskets were draped with that same flag.”
What does Broward College have to say about the display?
"Broward College understands that the piece, currently on exhibit, is controversial," a school spokesperson told Campus Reform in a statement: "The provocative nature of the piece is protected by the artist’s [c]onsitutional rights, specifically the First Amendment right to the Freedom of Speech. The piece represents the opinions of the individual artist and they are not indicative of the values at Broward College, the Rosemary Duffy Larson Gallery, or the other artists featured in the exhibition."
The statement continued: "Broward College supports the United States Constitution, the right to the Freedom of Speech, and the American Flag. The College has taken measures to ensure attendees of the exhibit know the art and opinions expressed are controversial and do not represent the institution’s values."
What are some recent examples of similar U.S. flag treatment?
- A U.S. flag was displayed on the floor at a high school in Elmhurst, Illinois, in September as part of a staff-created First Amendment forum — a move that drew outrage.
- A University of Miami faculty art exhibit received criticism in October after one participant fashioned Ku Klux Klan hoods out of American flags.