West Seattle scene: Seen at Alki Statue of Liberty Plaza

June 22, 2013 at 10:20 am | In Seen around town, West Seattle news | 54 Comments

Thanks to Dan for the photo of this guerrilla art/protest that appeared at Alki Statue of Liberty Plaza this morning. Babs sent photos too, wondering “what’s the story?” We don’t know who created it; do you?

7:33 PM UPDATE: Went to the beach to see if it was still there. It is, with the flag removed, as commenter Dian noted at mid-afternoon:

54 Comments

  1. A very interesting sculpture has been erected at Alki Beach. Across the front is an American Flag that has been defaced and hung backwards. Many have died for this Flag and it should be given respect, not treated like a billboard. Please citizens respect the Flag, it stands for so much.

    Comment by Dian — 10:33 am June 22, 2013 #

  2. I think it’s rad as I believe in expressing what you believe in. Nothing was damaged and this art statement piece took alot of time to build. I hope it’s allowed to stay there throughout the weekend. After I left there on my bike I saw a real Eagle posing on that pipe deal out in the low tide. Two beautiful eagles!

    Comment by Babs — 10:37 am June 22, 2013 #

  3. To my eye that’s less a guerrilla art protest and more in the vein of illegal dumping.

    Comment by cjboffoli — 10:45 am June 22, 2013 #

  4. I am not able to decipher the word in black. ????

    Comment by pupsarebest — 10:48 am June 22, 2013 #

  5. Pups – it looks to me to be “ENOUGH.”

    Comment by WSB — 11:17 am June 22, 2013 #

  6. Guerrilla art is fine. Defacing the flag is NOT. Use something else to represent the target of your anger. There are certain social values that even ‘artists’ should respect.

    Comment by squirrelly — 11:19 am June 22, 2013 #

  7. It’d be nice to know what they’re protesting. I hope that someone comes forward.

    Comment by West Seattle Since 1979 — 11:24 am June 22, 2013 #

  8. @Dian-The citizen that placed the piece more then likely is a patriot who believes this country is in very real danger of being lost forever to corporate take over. For many people the revelations by Snowden that we have lost the 2nd and 4th amendments are beginning to sink in. The upside down flag is a cry to save our democracy. The debasement is being done by our government.

    Comment by Neighbor — 11:33 am June 22, 2013 #

  9. Dian, I would respectfully say that many have died for the ideals the flag represents rather than died for the flag itself. Therefore the freedom to deface the flag is one of the ideals people have died for.
    Second, if you look at any military uniform this is the way the flag is sewn/velcroed on. It signifies the way the banner would look while charging into battle rather than retreating from it.

    Comment by Observer — 11:54 am June 22, 2013 #

  10. Can he play volleyball?

    Comment by Smitty — 12:00 pm June 22, 2013 #

  11. Sigh…. Stoned hippies. Face palm.

    Comment by Coyote — 12:04 pm June 22, 2013 #

  12. If I lived around there that thing would be in the dumpster in five minutes.

    Comment by Ben — 1:26 pm June 22, 2013 #

  13. Wow that thing’s fugly.
    About the only statement I’m seeing here is some people need to go to art school.

    Comment by dave — 2:01 pm June 22, 2013 #

  14. Thank you, @WSB. And thank you, @Neighbor.

    Comment by Chris W — 2:03 pm June 22, 2013 #

  15. That disgusting thing would make nice beach fire pit kindling.

    Comment by Brad Lackey — 2:28 pm June 22, 2013 #

  16. Thank-you anonymous artist! The flag treatment makes me wince, but I’m so glad to see someone DOING something. Apathy is the worst thing afflicting this country. We keep voting for politicians who are destroying the Constitution and engaged in endless war profiteering and crony capitalism; if we don’t like their actions its our responsibility to vote them out.

    Comment by Molly — 2:39 pm June 22, 2013 #

  17. I agree with Observer — the ideals the flag represents are what’s important, not the flag itself. The flag is nothing more than a piece of cloth.

    Comment by John — 2:46 pm June 22, 2013 #

  18. The artwork could represent any number of political dilemna’s that the country is facing right now. It’s a thought-provoking piece, though I agree that it could have been done without desecrating the flag.

    Comment by G — 2:55 pm June 22, 2013 #

  19. A BIG thank you to whomever removed the Flag. The eagle and the peace symbol are very effective on their own.
    Observer tell that to the millions who have given their lives so that we are free to salute the flag. It is a symbol of all the freedoms we enjoy and as such should be respected. If what is happening in this country right now worries you then “GET INVOLVED”

    Comment by Dian — 3:19 pm June 22, 2013 #

  20. “If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.”

    Comment by DiverLaura — 3:58 pm June 22, 2013 #

  21. I just lost my father. I just attended his service at National Cemetary. He did a lot for that flag and all that it represents. I do a lot for freedom everyday at work I respect others and hope that someday they will be the same. My only hope is that this is some misguided youth. But my initial reaction is anger and disgust. Whoever did this makes me want to vomit. I don’t care if its “art” you make me sick, you anti-American POS. Go USA! Go all the way!!

    Comment by K — 5:09 pm June 22, 2013 #

  22. Please tell me that someone has removed that disrespectful thing….So freaking sickening. I have no idea what you are thinking about art and all. it is sick and disgusting to disrespect people who served. Unbelievable.

    Comment by K — 5:15 pm June 22, 2013 #

  23. This is a statement that rates as news? This is an abomination. It’s a feeble, useless, mindless piece of trash and needs to be removed. This West Seattlite will not put up with the trashing of our public spaces just to exercise some hand job of a protest. If it’s still there when I get home a week from now I will take the thing down and burn it!

    Comment by JW23 — 5:16 pm June 22, 2013 #

  24. I’m sure the meathead that threw this together last night thought this would have 100 comments by now. Not.

    Please let this comment be the last.

    #undeservingpileofcrap

    Comment by Smitty — 5:30 pm June 22, 2013 #

  25. Maybe it has something to do with the new cameras that were installed by our great SPD on Alki and other areas. If that photo viewed a little more to the left it would have one of the new cameras in the background. That could or is watching you. It’s something I have a good laugh at every time I walk by there. Smile

    Comment by wetone — 5:33 pm June 22, 2013 #

  26. Good point, Smitty. All is done. Enough comments for this. Please post that it is gone so that we, and our ancestors, can rest. I personally feel unnervered thinking that this is still in view. It should be gone and done, sickening people who did it.

    Comment by K — 5:52 pm June 22, 2013 #

  27. Glad this art & statement can be put in public. Whether I like it is not the point. Its the ability to have an opinion and state it without having fire hoses turned on one as is currently happening in Turkey. I’m ok with being challenged with diverse opinions even when the flag is incorporated.

    Comment by R — 7:06 pm June 22, 2013 #

  28. What a conundrum! Should we talk about important things or does that encourage such trash? Is the right to deface the flag one of the rights our military men and women have died for around the globe for hundreds of years or is the cloth sacrosanct?

    When faced with any seemingly equal forces I have a simple solution: choose to respect people around you.

    I choose to respect the flag, be it physical or metaphysical, that adorns the coffins of our fallen heros. I choose to respect those families who make the ultimate sacrafice and put their mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, sons and daughters on the line every day so we sit comfortably here and wax poetic about rights and amendments.

    To Observer, John and Diver Laura – you make good points. The freedom to speak has no asterisk by it . . . well, unless you’re Paul Deen, apparently. So, it’s vital that we equally say this person has the RIGHT to deface the flag but know that good minded and respectful people simply DON’T do it.

    Plus it does NOTHING. It will bring no one to your side, it will encourage no pot to boil that is not already simmering. It only alienates the people and the processes that you need to actually make positive changes that most reasonable people agree need to happen in the long run. Look at the big changes that occured through groundswells in the past and they were based on respect.

    Find me someone who can make an effective statement that balances respect for our history with a clear vision for our future and I’ll listen. Poop on my doorstep and I won’t. That’s just poop.

    Comment by squirrelly — 7:27 pm June 22, 2013 #

  29. 1st amendment protects this statement…….oh wait wrong thread er country?

    Comment by Schlock artist — 7:33 pm June 22, 2013 #

  30. Agree with squirrelly re: respect, but I do think the “ENOUGH” statement might be effective for the average American’s attention span and level of awareness. As we saw in the last election cycle, successful media content for today’s low information voter is brief and image based, and this 3-D meme fits the bill. See: “Yes We Can”…”Believe in America”. “Enough” makes sense to me. Most of my peers/neighbors don’t even know who their state Reps are, and couldn’t find Syria on a map to save their life. They aren’t contacting City Councilmembers. They aren’t asking questions about liberty versus security at mayoral forums. They sign trendy anti-drone petitions but don’t give a second glance to their stock portfolios full of defense contractors and oil/mineral companies with a vested interest in American imperialism. The piece would be 100% awesome if it got a banner with Dian’s message – “GET INVOLVED”

    Comment by Molly — 8:43 pm June 22, 2013 #

  31. If you looked you would have noticed a broken set of wooden letters “NSA” at the base of the statue. Freedom of speech is a good thing, even if you disagree with it.

    Comment by Jack — 10:31 pm June 22, 2013 #

  32. Though it may do nothing for me aesthetically, I give credit to the person who created the piece for remembering the prime directive most Seattle artists forget. Walk into galleries around here, and it seems many local artists care more about making pretty inoffensive pieces for a living room rather than anything that might make someone think.

    Several generations of my family have sacrificed not for the flag, but for what the flag represents. Because of their sacrifices, I personally have been affected by the wars we are in now. Though I may not agree with everything my neighbor does or my government does in my name, this is what democracy looks like.

    Comment by skininit — 3:45 am June 23, 2013 #

  33. I personally think people get WAY too hung up on the flag, but that’s me.

    what I find very humorous is the posters getting on their high horse – “lets not give this anymore attention. in fact, after i’m done whimpering, let there be no more comments!”

    “yeah I agree, after I”M done blathering, this should end the 15 minutes of fame for this piece.”

    Comment by flimflam — 7:26 am June 23, 2013 #

  34. Not all art is “pretty”, nor is it intended to be. This piece has fulfilled its function perfectly: it got people talking. The discussion should be around what a particular piece of red, white and blue cloth has come to represent, rather than the cloth itself. Such protests are often branded as anti-American; IMO, sending young Americans off to die for corporate interests is a more apt description of that sentiment. Skilling gets a slashed sentence, our kids get a death sentence. Snowden will undoubtedly be hunted down as if he were Bin Laden. The voice of dissent is being surveilled, scrutinized and silenced more than ever. I’m glad this artist put it out there. Ugly? You bet it is.

    Comment by anonyme — 7:59 am June 23, 2013 #

  35. Thank you, anonymous artist, for your thought-provoking piece.

    Comment by m — 8:18 am June 23, 2013 #

  36. A silent protest being condemned by self proclaimed ‘patriots’. Irony at it’s best. The flag represents the original 13 colonies and our current 50 states. What it does not represent is the hard dedicated life sacrificing work our current and past military have done to protect and serve our country. It does not represent my grandfathers work, who was part of the 120th Evac at Buchenwald. The living from that encampment represent my grandfather’s dedication there to SAVE lives. Would he have been offended by this silent protest, not likely. Would he go down and place a flag properly waving ABOVE this protest, you bet.

    Comment by Mike — 9:15 am June 23, 2013 #

  37. To whoever removed the flag…THANK YOU!!!
    People have the right to desecrate he flag, I won’t argue that.
    But,
    I (and others) ALSO HAVE THE RIGHT TO STOP THEM FROM DOING IT.
    I am reminded of Rick Monday’s rescue of a flag that two idiots were trying to burn at a Dodgers baseball game in 1976:
    http://www.midwestsportsfans.com/2010/07/video-rick-monday-american-flag-incident/
    If I ever see someone desecrating the flag, I WILL NOT HESITATE IN STOPPING THEM.

    Comment by Ex-Westwood Resident — 10:51 am June 23, 2013 #

  38. We’ll have an updated story a bit later – the Parks Department, which is accountable for the plaza, has some information about its plans for disposition. Also supposedly another “installation” has appeared elsewhere; we’re heading out to check it out.

    Comment by WSB — 10:59 am June 23, 2013 #

  39. Shame on whomever thinks this is a good thing to do. Besides the flag, placing it next too the replica of the Statue of Liberty is also in my eyes disrespectful. Each item represents this great country of ours.

    This is the same kind of person who would sneer at a soldier instead of shaking their hand and thanking him or her for serving our country.

    If you do not like our country, then leave. I hear Ecuador is becoming a new hot spot.

    Comment by T Rex — 12:28 pm June 23, 2013 #

  40. Thank you skininit. You wrote the most thoughtful comment of the lot. It’s ironic how those who don’t blink an eye at the physical destruction of our country or the sending of soldiers to fight in phony wars get so upset over the manipulation of symbols.

    Comment by Robert — 1:15 pm June 23, 2013 #

  41. Art or not they broke the law. Defacing the flag is against federal law. Plus I’m pretty sure they did not get a permit to build a structure or art on city park property. Plus to all you who say they didn’t damage anything go down and look at the bricks with names and you will see the paint dried on them.

    Comment by Bob Dewey — 2:16 pm June 23, 2013 #

  42. I fought for my country, not that flag. That flag is only a representation made from cloth. I don’t agree with statements around the flag being “desecrated” because that is only your opinion. Also, writing anything on a flag is not against any federal laws. Just because you say so doesn’t make it true. Physically stopping anyone from protesting, writing on a flag, or even burning one is a crime, Ex-Westie. Better check yourself.

    Comment by NotMe — 3:05 pm June 23, 2013 #

  43. I wouldn’t worry about Lil Westie. everyone is tough and not to be trifled with on the internet…

    Comment by flimflam — 3:50 pm June 23, 2013 #

  44. I’m not sure how many of the people commenting on this actually saw it in person. I saw it this morning and it was not JUST “art”. It wasn’t JUST the flag issue, or the word “enough” on the display.If you actually looked at it, like I did today, you would have seen another cause for concern. There was a “warning” written on it to be careful of what was to happen on Monday (and another date I can’t quite remember of the top of my head) What I don’t understand is how we supposedly are trying to create a safe environment… an anti bullying… terrorist act and tragedy free environment.
    I don’t know about you , but I don’t feel safe when someone (and most likely not a single someone..) threatens me/us to “watch out”.
    After all the things we see that happen in the world around us. I was under the impression that we took threats as threats.. and not as “art” I actually cringe when I see a peace sign these days … to me it means someone is trying to shove their opinion down my throat… or has something new to complain about.
    Peace should not be used frivolously, but rather abundantly. It’s something you DO. And telling me and my family and all of our community that we need to watch out on a specific date is not a peaceful behavior.

    AS far as the flag goes… I would certainly hope that we all know that it’s a piece of cloth and that it represents something bigger and more important.
    Money – it’s a symbol… and it represents something bigger. – you probably don’t burn that after you’ve EARNED it.. you need it in tact to continue representing its worth. Why would the flag be any different? YOU don’t write on it… you don’t burn it… you treat it with respect and honor. (not a good analogy I know!)

    Comment by LB — 4:19 pm June 23, 2013 #

  45. LB, we have a followup here:
    .
    http://westseattleblog.com/2013/06/followup-parks-department-to-remove-alki-mystery-installation
    .
    including photos of the other components.
    .
    By threat, do you mean the “Monday is coming; think about your life”? verbiage on the peace sign (shown in the other photos)

    Comment by WSB — 4:52 pm June 23, 2013 #

  46. Yes, yes that’s it . It’s funny how now that when i was there …viewing it, it was much more disturbing. I still perceive it as a threat. Sadly that is where my head is at. I don’t live in fear, but I don’t think we can afford to not dig a little deeper when a cryptic message shows up via a art or not. I’m all for provocative art, so if someone can tell me why I am supposed “think about my life” because of Monday, I’d be happy to hear it. However, shouldn’t we consistently be thinking about our lives?… I like to be accountable for my actions daily,and expect the same. So if it isn’t a threat…please explain.

    Comment by LB — 5:24 pm June 23, 2013 #

  47. Spot on LB. That’s been ringing in my head, too. I’m not naive – I know it’s cloth. My family and friends didn’t serve and die for fabric! Come on.

    But it represents the ideals, as many various voices have said. If you disrespect that which represents something, you disrespect what it represents too! And it represents me – so don’t be so surprised when I’m offended.

    More disturbing is the implied threat that you mention. That is new. I’m regretfully able to accept some flag burning but that is different.

    Unless they just don’t like Mondays.

    I’d like to hear more about that language from the artist or those honoring the art here.

    Comment by squirrelly — 8:08 pm June 23, 2013 #

  48. For what it’s worth, when I saw that in today’s photos (which we have featured in our followup, published here on WSB earlier today), I took it as “the weekend’s over, you’re going back to work, think about your life.” We work seven days a week on WSB so Mondays aren’t a factor any more – but for so many people, there’s still the weekend/Monday divide. But I’m a cup half full type of person. If you think you saw a threat, I hope you reported it to police. They apparently responded to the site at one point today – we went back when we heard about that, but they were gone. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 8:22 pm June 23, 2013 #

  49. Monday is coming, think about your life…on a peace sign…with pink hearts…really? The “warning” on the bird totem says… warning from blue star above chang…which I take as change. No apparent threats in my mind…

    Comment by junior — 12:00 am June 24, 2013 #

  50. I always worry about Monday. Nothing new there.

    Comment by anonyme — 6:50 am June 24, 2013 #

  51. To all of the folks talking about what the flag represents, that is what it represents to us here in Ameica…
    Maybe consider what it represents to millions of other
    people around the world.
    Maybe it represents us allowing Monsanto to patent
    the genetic code to a crop they have grown for
    centuries, then telling them they can no longer
    grow that crop unless they buy the seeds from Monsanto
    Maybe it represents us allowing Oil and Mining
    Companies to steal their resources and leave
    a wake of environmental destruction behind them.
    Maybe it represents a drone strike on your village
    That killed your family in an attempt to nuetralize
    a target that may or may not be there.
    Maybe it represents the CIA ” removing ”
    your democratically elected leader.
    Americans like to think of themselves as the center
    of the universe, as if everything done in our interest
    is ok, because God is on ” our ” side.
    Our history is full of great things.
    It is equally full of heinous crimes against humanity.

    Comment by Felix Grounds — 10:24 am June 25, 2013 #

  52. Some of you take your patriotism too far. Love our country, be proud of it, be happy about it’s accomplishments, enjoy our freedoms. And though it is your “right”, I would advise you NOT be a sociopath or obsessive about it. That doesn’t do anything truly wonderful. Who ever is creating this is someone who has a right to do so—as many times as they wish. Just as you have a right to dislike it. But your dislike doesn’t make you more patriotic than they are. It only makes it known that you don’t like change. Flags and military service aren’t the only things that make this country great…we are so much more than that. Layers upon layers of awesome and belligerent and creative and pioneering and daring. In all kinds of ways.

    Comment by Cris725 — 11:08 am June 25, 2013 #

  53. Flag worship is idolatry.

    Comment by Paul — 2:14 pm June 25, 2013 #

  54. I’m glad to see this showing up in West Seattle. This community is extremely privileged. The rest of the world is dealing directly with the consequences of inequality on a daily basis. I’m glad art creates a reason for people to have meaningful conversations about multiple experiences. Not just the experiences of privileged Americans.

    Comment by Lyndsey — 2:47 pm June 25, 2013 #

Sorry, comment time is over.

All contents copyright 2014, A Drink of Water and a Story Interactive. Here's how to contact us.
Header image by Nick Adams. ABSOLUTELY NO WSB PHOTO REUSE WITHOUT SITE OWNERS' PERMISSION.
Entries and comments feeds. ^Top^