Artist of Week 9: Joseph DeLappe

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Joseph Delappe is currently a professor of the Department of Art at University of Nevada, Reno.  He graduated from City College of San Francisco with an Associates in Art.  From there, he earned a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design from San Jose State University in 1986, then earned a Master of Art in Computers and Art and Design in 1988 and a Master of Fine Arts in Pictorial Arts in 1990, all from the CADRE Institute of San Jose University  He currently works with electronic and technological media, and particularly with virtual world settings, to send messages to people.

Most of his works have had to with virtual worlds and had to do with technology.  One of his most famous projects was called Dead in Iraq, which he did in 2006.  In this project, he signed up to be a player in a game called “America’s Army”, and he would read off names of actual fallen soldiers from Iraq.  The other players would hear this and want rip him a new one.  Most of them were enraged and thought it was weird why he would do this when they were just trying to have some fun.  He tried to take the fun out of war games like “America’s Army”, and tried to make it serious and cause awareness.

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Another famous work he did was a big cardboard structure called Liberty Weeps.  It’s not very clear up close, but from a distance, you can tell that the Statue of Liberty has her face in her hands and is crying.  Similar to the Dead in Iraq project, he is trying to send a message about war and bringing the issue into the light.  He portrays Lady Liberty crying because of the condition the United States is in currently and how it is not the way she would have wanted it.  After seeing it, I think DeLappe is trying to tell us Americans that we should be ashamed of ourselves for disappointing her and that we should change.

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At first, I was kind of confused with what DeLappe was doing with his projects, but after seeing the different pictures my classmates were posting and how they described his projects, I got a better understanding and thought what he was doing was cool and interesting.  In our world, we have a lot of problems that people try to do something about, sometimes with very dangerous tactics.  I think that although Joseph DeLappe may have angered some people, what he did was not over the top and was pretty powerful.

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