• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 51s

Controversial painting at UAA gallery sparks ‘spirited discussions’

By Megan Edge 11:48 AM April 19, 2017
ANCHORAGE –

A painting hanging in an art gallery at the University of Alaska Anchorage has “sparked spirited discussions” about whether or not it’s appropriate to hang at the public university, according to UAA chancellor Tom Case.

“Everything” by artist Thomas Chung. (Shannon Ballard / KTVA)

The painting, “Everything,” by Thomas Chung, makes political and religious statements. It depicts a naked man — actor Chris Evans, who recently appeared as Captain America — with blurred out genitals, holding in one hand a white sign, with red lettering that states, “Man did not weave the web of life. He is merely a stand in it.” In the other hand the man is holding the head of President Donald Trump by his hair, as blood drips down from his neck.

Longtime U.S. politician and presidential hopeful in the last election, Hillary Clinton, is posed around the naked man’s leg, dressed in a white pant suit. Behind the man, are two large birds, grey wings spread wide, like they’re a part of the man’s shoulders.

“We understand that some may not support this exhibit, but universities — including UAA — are a place for free exchange of ideas, diversity of thoughts and of opinions, and ideally, a place for conversation to occur around our differences and similarities,” Case said in a written statement. “Freedom of expression is fundamental to our mission and we support our faculty and students in exploring their ideas through creativity, research and scholarship.”

University of Alaska president Jim Johnsen echoed a similar sentiment in an emailed statement.

“The art installation at UAA that has sparked recent concern and debate has people asking whether a public university should be home to controversial, or even offensive, ideas. My answer: A vital and vibrant university, regardless of the campus, must be a place of ideas, opinion, and debate. A place where the most controversial ideas abound, and where assumptions and positions are openly tested.

“Meaningful ideas and debates are often informative and, sometimes, unsettling. Throughout history, ideas and points of view that were controversial, even abhorrent or offensive at the time, have upset the status quo and led to significant advances in science, art, and understanding of the human condition. On other occasions, what we now think of as controversial and abhorrent ideas were once widely accepted,” Johnsen said.

Johnsen continued to argue the importance of art in education, as well as support for university students to express themselves, and to continue to spark meaningful conversation.

“Not all ideas, opinions or artistic expressions stand the test of open debate or time,” Johnson wrote. “The dust bin of history is filled with such ideas. But ideas that we profoundly disagree with may be the very ideas needed to broaden our understanding of the world around us. I can think of no better place in a free society than a university to test ideas, especially those that are highly controversial and objectionable, through open and rigorous debate.”

Latest Stories

  • News

    Stubbs, Talkeetna’s honorary cat mayor, dies

    by Chris Klint on Jul 22, 22:25

    Stubbs, Talkeetna’s honorary cat mayor beloved by Alaskans and tourists alike, has died at the age of 20 according to the animal’s owners. Stubbs’ death was announced late Saturday in a statement from the Spone family, which purchased Nagley’s General Store and the West Rib Pub and Grill in 2015. Part of the contract, the […]

  • New White House communications director deletes old tweets contradicting Trump

    by CBS/AP on Jul 22, 19:55

    A day after accepting a top White House job, President Trump’s new communications director announced Saturday that he’s deleting old tweets that were critical of his new boss, saying his own views have evolved and that what he said in the past shouldn’t be a distraction. Full transparency: I'm deleting old tweets. Past views evolved […]

  • News

    Car-motorcycle crash hurts 2, closes Old Seward Highway south of Dowling Road

    by Chris Klint on Jul 22, 19:05

    The Old Seward Highway was closed Saturday night south of Dowling Road in both directions by a car-motorcycle collision that injured two people. Alaska road-conditions website 511.alaska.gov first mentioned the wreck at Old Seward near 69th Avenue shortly after 6 p.m. Anchorage police Sgt. Dawn Neer, at the scene, said a motorcycle had been headed […]

  • News

    Efforts continue to save Anchorage’s 4th Avenue Theatre

    by Dave Leval on Jul 22, 17:38

    There’s no denying Sandy Harper loves the 4th Avenue Theatre. “The theater has been here longer than I have,” said Harper, who has called Anchorage home for 30 years. The building has been part of the downtown Anchorage skyline for more than twice that, a span of 70 years. “I don’t think there’s anything like […]

  • Dozens hospitalized for excessive drinking at Chance The Rapper concert

    by CBS/AP on Jul 22, 17:28

    HARTFORD, Conn. — More than 90 people were hospitalized Friday during a concert featuring Chance the Rapper in Connecticut, officials said. A large number of people hospitalized were underage attendees experiencing “severe intoxication,” Hartford Deputy Chief Brian Foley said Saturday. Foley said officers made 50 underage drinking referrals Friday at Hot 93.7′s Hot Jam concert at Xfinity Theatre. […]

  • News

    Coast Guard: Kodiak missile test could occur as early as next week

    by Associated Press on Jul 22, 14:15

    KODIAK, Alaska (AP) – The U.S. Coast Guard says a launch from the Kodiak Island rocket launch complex in Alaska will occur as soon as next week. The Kodiak Daily Mirror reports a U.S. Coast Guard notice released Wednesday states the launch is scheduled to occur at the Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska between 7 p.m. on […]

  • Son charged in death of father whose body was left on couch for weeks

    by CBS/AP on Jul 22, 14:12

    FRACKVILLE, Pa. — A man has been charged with killing his father, who authorities say was shot to death and his body then left on a couch in his home for weeks. Tyler Swantek, 24, faces charges in Schuylkill County including criminal homicide, first- and third-degree murder, aggravated assault and abuse of a corpse in the […]

  • News

    Search suspended for man overboard from skiff in Prince William Sound

    by Chris Klint on Jul 22, 13:21

    The U.S. Coast Guard spent much of Friday looking for a man who fell overboard from a skiff on the west side of Prince William Sound, but was unable to locate any sign of him. Coast Guard Petty Officer Jon-Paul Rios said that the man went overboard at about 2 a.m. Friday from a commercial […]