Lisa Rockford,a professor at Broward College in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, has come under fire for an “art project” that involved using an American flag as a doormat.
Broward College art professor Lisa Rockford has come under fire for a controversial art piece that involved tricking students into stepping onto an American flag as a camera pointed at their feet snapped a photo.
Rockford painted an American flag with white paint, cut it in half, and placed in high traffic area on campus. “People are stepping on the flag as they enter most of whom don’t realize its an American flag. The artist had a camera set up taking pictures of people stepping on it as part of her artwork,” student Jess Karcher said. “I find this extremely disrespectful and kick in the gut as a veteran. I have lost many friends whose caskets were draped with that same flag.”
Karcher explained that Rockford intended that those who stepped on the flag would do so unwittingly. “I am not sure what the message is they are trying to give, but there was a camera taking pictures of people unknowingly steeping [sic] on it,” Karcher added.
In a statement, Broward College defended Rockford on the basis of the First Amendment. The college did not say that they will ensure that students know that it is an American flag they are stepping on when they pass through that portion of the campus.
Broward College understands that the piece, currently on exhibit, is controversial. 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.
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.