WAR (by corporations, licensed war machine designs by the US government and paid for by parents) by removing the killing machine’s content (murder) i.e., making them into TOYS. This makes sense, as who fights the wars on behalf of the US but its children? In a single hobby store I counted 17 corporate model manufacturers. I present war model boxes with the core content restored (war fantasies, torture realities, government propaganda, military industrial economics, and legal methods for robbing and enslaving indigenous populations).” Over the first weekend of the event, the store owner took umbrage with his work and removed it. Coe, nor the art center, know where his art is. Is this action censorship or theft? Whichever, Coe’s work has hit a nerve and he plans to continue needling those sensitive areas between media hype and political misconduct.
We need artists like Wayne Coe, Joseph Bertiers, Sandow Birk, and Nancy Chunn –all painters fascinated with history, current affairs, and mythology—to help us digest what is happening and see it in a larger context. By rendering these images as paintings, Coe is asking us to slow down, look closely, and think. He wants us to ask questions like: Why do we think this way? Why do we condone these actions? Why do we do nothing? In warning the American people about making the military industrial complex our primary economic resource, President Dwight D. Eisenhower in his Farewell Address on January 17, 1961 said, “Down the long lane of the history yet to be written America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.” Coe is reflecting back to us in his paintings the dreadful community that is our current reality. He feels a personal responsibility for the misbehavior of our government and forced to participate in the collusion because his tax money is funding the war machine. He may be critical of the media and the camera lens, but he also acknowledges that if no one had their cameras on September 11 or at Abu Ghraib Prison then how would we know. We need to be made aware of what is happening in the world while at the same time remaining critical of the delivery system. Coe is watching.