A Florida art professor's newest exhibit of three Ku Klux Klan hoods crafted out of American flags has caused outrage and resulted in death threats.
"American Mask" is the work of University of Miami assistant professor Billie Grace Lynn. The work features three KKK hoods sewn out of U.S. flags with burned-out eyeholes and topped with golden eagles. Each hood is displayed on a stand with a base in the shape of a swastika.
"It's a deliberately provocative piece," Lynn told CNN. "It's a proposal. I'm asking a question. There's no way to walk up to someone on the street and say, 'Do you think people are concealing their bigotry and racism behind the flag, behind being patriotic?' That's the questions and that's what I find so disturbing."
Lynn told CNN the piece was inspired by the violence that left one woman dead after a white supremacist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August.
"American Mask" is on display at an off-campus gallery for University of Miami faculty. It is part of an exhibit that runs from Oct. 23 to Nov. 12.
Prominently displayed in the gallery's window, the piece is sure to capture the attention of anyone who walks past, not just those who enter the building.
Building employee Patrick Young told WSVN in October he finds the work "disgusting."
"This is disrespectful, and people just don't understand it," Young said. "I can't see it being a positive message no matter what way you put it."
"What can this actually help?" he added. "Burning an American flag, I have no idea what this symbolizes, what this helps out. Who does this reach?"
Even Lynn agrees with Young's assessment that the piece is offensive, but hopes that people's initial gut reaction will prompt deeper thought.
"I actually find it offensive, to tell you the truth," Lynn told WSVN. "And when I sew them, when I make them, I find it very disturbing."
"We don't need more pretty pictures when we're confronting a world that's filled with ugliness and hate," she noted. "I want people to think about it and go, 'Is this the truth? Is this the way it is?'"
Lynn has received several death threats over her work, according to CNN. Some have wished for her death or for her to get cancer and others warn "the American people will come" for her.
Other emails have insulted Lynn's appearance. She tells CNN that she no longer reads those emails because "when people have only personal attacks to launch, you know the truth hit home in them."