The Fat is in the Fire

Artists William Gentry, left, and Megan Ellis display one of the U.S. flags and a deep-fried flag that were removed Wednesday in Clarksville Tenn. from an exhibit at the Customs House Museum.

Artist: William Gentry

Year: 2006

Date of Action: November 2006


Location: Clarksville, Tennessee

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Installation

Confronting Bodies: Customs House Museum

Description of Artwork: "The Fat is in the Fire" featured several American flags that had been deep-fried. The artist intended the pieces to be a commentary on obesity in the United States.

The Incident: Eighteen hours after the display went up, Customs House Museum executive director Ned Crouch had the pieces removed. His explanation for his acts was “It's about what the community values.I'm representing 99% of our membership — educators, doctors, lawyers, military families.” “Over half my funding is public funding. … I don't want to rock a boat that's hard to keep floating. It's not worth jeopardizing for an exhibit.” [1]

Results of Incident: The NCAC sent a letter to the Customs House Museum, but no further action was taken by the museum.