Art in MU is in poor taste
Published: Thursday, January 24, 2013
Updated: Thursday, January 24, 2013 00:01
Artwork is a form of expression, but is not acceptable in bad taste. There is a right time and right place for everything. The Memorial Union building has been tainted by a message against its original dedication to honor those lost at war.
The Memorial Union Building was built in 1929 to serve as a “living memorial to the service and inspiration of the living and the memory of our immortal dead.” It was the concept of two student veterans who wanted a building on campus dedicated to the memory and honor of lost faculty, staff and students who served in World War I.
The Memorial Union currently features an exhibit in the concourse gallery titled, “Windows & Mirrors: Memorialize Afghan Civilian Casualties.” This seems like an honorable message, however the displays and descriptions question the morals of the United States.
One of the pieces, “The ‘Peace’ Operations of the U.S. Airstrikes on Weddings,” implies sarcasm on the United States’s intentions of creating peace between countries by placing the quotes around the word peace. The image is of happy Afghan civilians in celebration of a wedding below a cloud of black smoke and a fleet of the United States’ predator drones. Below the image is a list of wedding casualty dates and number of deaths.
Another piece, titled “Foreshadowing,” depicts drones flying over children. The description of the piece scandalizes the U.S. Military and CIA by stating we participate in “one-sided robotic warfare” by using unmanned drones controlled by people who “sit at computer screens thousands of miles from their targets.” The statement implies our armed forces kill without purpose and without tact.
I spoke with Marine veteran and current OSU student Bret Meloling about what he thought of the exhibit. He said, “I feel that my minority group as a veteran is not being protected. Other minority groups are protected, so why are we the forgotten few?”
There have been numerous complaints from other veterans.
As an employee of the Memorial Union, I’ve received comments saying, “even though casualties do happen in war and civilians can get killed, soldiers don’t make that their agenda.” They are doing their job in an effort to protect this country and should not be disrespected in such a way.
I don’t know how this propaganda managed to slip through the fingers of the people who accept art for the gallery, but it’s appalling.
Yes, art is a free form of expression and can be about anything. Go ahead, draw, paint, photograph, create, but like I said earlier, there is a right time and a right place for it. This was just the wrong place. It was completely inappropriate to feature such an exhibit with messages against our country’s war efforts in a building that is specifically dedicated in their honor.
I understand the initial message of the exhibit is to memorialize the loss of innocent civilians’ lives, but the way it is being displayed in these images is just blatantly untactful. The images and descriptions were used to attack the United States. Stating your purpose in a message is one thing, but displaying a completely different message in the artwork is very misleading.
As a part of a very diverse and growing community, everyone has to be respectful of the people around us. We need to learn that regardless of whether we like someone, or have different beliefs, respect is the difference we can make.
Masami Wadama is a sophomore in business marketing. The opinions expressed in her columns do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Barometer staff. Wadama can be reached at email@example.com.