CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Austin Peay State University has changed its rules for student art displays following a student exhibit at a local museum that was removed because it featured deep fried American flags.
Student William Gentry's exhibit, "the Fat is in the Fire," was removed from the Customs House Museum on Nov. 15, only a few hours after it opened.
Gentry's senior exhibit featured U.S. flags imprinted with phrases such as "Poor people are obese because they eat poorly" and more than 40 smaller ones fried in egg batter, flour, black pepper and peanut oil.
APSU senior exhibit adviser Cindy Marsh said the university will now restrict senior exhibits to campus galleries only.
"For this project, they are not going to be showing outside the university," Marsh said. It's a "safeguard we've put on the senior exhibition class now to try to make sure this kind of thing doesn't slip though the cracks again."
Gentry said his intention was to illustrate the country's obesity epidemic through his exhibit.
But Crouch said at the time that the flags could have been interpreted as desecration, an issue not taken lightly by the military community in Clarksville.
Crouch has declined further comment on the issue.
Dixie Webb, chairwoman of the university's art department, said the new policy doesn't restrict students from other shows off campus.
But if a student is exhibiting artwork as a representative of APSU, the content must be approved by the university, she said.
The Customs House Museum is also reviewing its policy and procedures following the controversial artwork, said museum board member Frank Lott.
"The museum is reviewing their policies of how they review and determine the appropriateness" of exhibits, Lott said. "We don't have any desire as a museum to determine someone's right to create a piece of art. We're not saying you can't produce it. We're just saying we're not obligated to show it."