Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

Welcome to the Spencer Collection

Site of Contestation
  • Michael Krueger
    born 1967
    born: Kenosha, Wisconsin, United States ; active: United States
  • Site of Contestation, 2004
  • Where object was made: United States
  • colored pencil on paper
  • Image Dimensions Height/Width: 41 x 70.6 cm
    Image Dimensions Height/Width: 16 1/8 x 27 3/4 in
    Sheet/Paper Dimensions: 41 x 70.6 cm
    Sheet/Paper Dimensions: 16 1/8 x 27 3/4 in
    Frame Dimensions: 22 3/4 x 34 3/4 x 1 1/2 in
    Weight: 8 lbs
  • Museum purchase: Gift of Marjorie Swann and William Tsutsui and the Elmer F. Pierson Fund
  • On view: Gallery 408
  • 2007.0079
Label Text
Exhibitions

Exhibition Label:
"Separate and Not Equal: A History of Race and Education in America", 27-May-2017
Site of Contestation addresses the turbulent period of protests
in Lawrence, Kansas, starting in the Civil Rights Movement and
continuing through the 2004 presidential election. Krueger
focuses on signage and imagery he has personally seen or
researched to show the diversity of Kansas politics throughout
the state’s history—from the “Haskell Babies” sign that harkens
back to Haskell Indian Nations University’s past as a Native
American boarding school, to the “White/Black” sign that
references school segregation and the Topeka-based Brown v.
Board of Education Supreme Court case.


Exhibition Label:
“Conversation II: Place-Kansas,” Apr-2008, Emily Stamey
“The drawing Site of Contestation is part of a series of prints and drawings addressing the history of Lawrence, Kansas. The idea for drawing signage came about as a means to address the turbulent period of protest in Lawrence in the 1960s and ’70s. The concept expanded to include a broad use of protest signage in Lawrence. Many political viewpoints have been represented over the years in Lawrence and I felt that I needed to include a great variety of signage. I could not only include the signage that fell with my own beliefs or a sense of justified protest. Every sign presented on this lonesome prairie is a sign that I either personally saw in Lawrence or came across in my research of the history of protest in Lawrence Kansas.

“In this drawing, there is a political mood set on the landscape, a steady tone cast by the bursts of defiance, outrage and decisiveness. In a way this drawing of political protest in Lawrence became a means to address a fading memory of America’s past-a greater history beyond the strife of one small town-and also to address my own history and feelings about America.”
Michael Krueger

“Krueger’s drawing articulates the characteristic disarray of Kansas politics, as messages pile upon messages, across the 160 years of the state’s history. We’re reminded that message politics is nothing new, as “pro-life” and “pro-choice” signs stand planted next to those defending and attacking slavery, from the state’s bloody early days.

“Site of Contestation, for me, recalls Elizabeth Layton’s drawing, Her Strength Is in her Principles, a self-portrait of her wearing dozens of buttons. But Layton personally embraces a host of causes, while Krueger’s arid landscape stands devoid of humanity, save for a foundering hand, swept away in the river.

“We may all have a lot to say, but if no one is listening, the very richness of the voices will amount to nothing, and the state (suggested by the drawing’s shape) will bear the consequences.”
Burdett Loomis, KU Professor of Political Science