Nadine Strossen's new book, HATE, is a clear and forceful polemic that deserves a wide audience. The book brilliantly revitalizes a classical liberal argument about the importance of countering hate speech with more speech, not enforced silence.
Any art institution that displays art about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict - or even art that is created by Israeli or Palestinian artists - needs to carefully navigate a space between intense pressures coming from right-wing pro-Israel groups and calls for boycott from supporters of the cultural BDS movement.
A year into one the most divisive presidencies Americans have seen in their lifetimes, free speech is in crisis. NCAC's Director of Programs looks at the most representative issues affecting artistic freedom in the first year of the Trump administration.
Every time threats of violence succeed in silencing expression, our public sphere is impoverished and even more polarized.
Efforts to blacklist an artist over a controversial painting are not conducive to the goal of overcoming racial inequity.
After two visitors complained about a painting, a small gallery space in Vero Beach told an artist to remove the piece.
After students voiced their objections, the University of Kentucky has covered a historical mural. The school should seize the opportunity to have serious dialogue.
Former FBI officials successfully remove paintings by Leonard Peltier from a government building in Washington state.
Workers around the world are celebrated on May Day. But here in the United States it's actually "Loyalty Day"-- a reminder of some of the darkest days of cultural and political censorship.
On Sunday, Dec 21st, NCAC joined Secret Cinema and Spectrum to screen Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator in protest against the cancellation of The Interview. As NCAC noted in a statement regarding the cancellation, threats of violence have become increasingly successful in suppressing cultural expression. Before Sony Pictures Entertainment withdrew its film, The Interview, from all outlets of circulation and distribution, we saw London’s [...]
The United States is proud of its freedoms, but it is also – and increasingly – a country of the easily – and proudly - offended. Being offended has become something of a political badge of honor: if I find sexist (or racist, or anti-gay) jokes appropriately offensive I am an enlightened feminist (or champion of minority groups or gay [...]
The audience coming to see John Adams' Death of Klinghoffer on Monday, October 20th, had to pass through a cordon of angry protesters crying "shame" and holding placards condemning the Metropolitan Opera of rather far fetched things like "taking terrorist $$$" or "glorifying terrorism." They must not have succeeded in shaming anyone as the house was full. The few hecklers in the [...]
Jorge Marin's sculpture group Wings of the City has been on display in Houston's Discovery Green Park since early September. Almost predictably some viewers are objecting to the nudity of the sculptures. As usual those who object do it supposedly on behalf of the innocence of children - though Wings of the City has been exhibited internationally with no apparent damage to [...]
Cancelled commencement speakers, a rush of attempts to put trigger warnings on class content, student petitions to remove potentially disturbing artwork from campus… What is going on? Academia is no stranger to free speech battles. In the 1950s professors could be ousted for “treasonous or seditious acts or utterances” or for being members of an organization advocating the violent overthrow [...]
This year NCAC celebrates 40 years on the frontlines of the censorship wars. As we revisit our 40 year history —and the recent history of censorship in the US —we will be looking at how information access, creative freedom and control over what we see and know have changed - or not. The approach of Memorial Day reminds us how [...]
Damien Hirst's The Virgin Mother is a large piece about even larger subjects: life, death, birth, and humanity. But is it too large for Old Westbury, L.I.? The Virgin Mother was previously displayed (there are several casts) at Lever House in Manhattan, outside London's Royal Academy, and on Fontvieille Harbour, Monaco. But now that it landed in posh Old Westbury, [...]
With by now predictable regularity, student activism - and even academic debate - on the conflict in the Middle East is met with punitive sanctions and attempts at silencing. Such attempts exist on both sides, but disproportionately punish students and speakers critical of Israeli politics. The latest episode took place this March on the Campus of Northeastern University, where a [...]
Kennesaw State reinstates art installation, but is there more trouble brewing in Academia? Trigger warnings.
Kennesaw State finally formally announced the reinstatement of Ruth Stanford's “A Walk in the Valley” to the opening exhibition at the new Bernard A. Zuckerman Museum of Art. The piece, a commissioned work about Georgia author Corra Harris' homestead, was taken down two weeks ago, shortly before the formal opening on Saturday, March 1st.
The National Coalition Against Censorship received word that Ruth Stanford's "A Walk in the Valley" has been restored to the Kennesaw State University's Zuckerman Museum of Art. KSU had said “A Walk in the Valley” was pulled because it did not fit the "celebratory nature" of the museum's opening.
NCAC and ACLU-SC ask the county board to immediately restore artwork and establish best practices for managing future controversies in accordance with First Amendment principles.
NCAC and the ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri sent a letter urging the board to restore the art exhibition program at Dykes Library, located in the Kansas University Medical Center.
The recent rather heavy-handed treatment of Marc Bradley Johnson’s MFA thesis project at New York’s School of Visual Art (SVA) raises some interesting concerns—especially for an institution that aims to play a leadership role in the bio-art movement. Johnson’s project consists of a refrigerator containing 68 vials of his sperm arranged on a grid. The artist originally intended to give [...]
A painting, included in a juried exhibition show at the Mansfield Art Center in Ohio, was partially covered with black paper. The painting had been selected for inclusion in the show, but the management of the Art Center decided that the outside edges of the work, which were covered with clippings from pornographic magazines, should not be seen by anyone. Sans [...]
Update: Lawrence, KS officials have banned the project, saying the proposed art installation would amount to animal cruelty. The Kansas code allows “with respect to farm animals” for “normal or accepted practices of animal husbandry, including the normal and accepted practices for the slaughter of such animals for food or by-products and the careful or thrifty management of one's herd [...]
The Richland, PA School District canceled a high school student production of Kismet, a 1953 musical made along the lines of stories from the Arabian Nights. The musical was planned to open in February. The reason: the proximity of the town to the 9/11 attacks: "Flight 93 flew right over our heads." A fact which apparently has made local citizens [...]
A New Jersey state law coming into effect today (Sept 1st) is considered the “toughest legislation against bullying in the nation”. It may, however, also prove to be dangerously overbroad and stifle student speech on a variety of topics. Called the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights, the law was adopted in the aftermath of the suicide of a Rutgers University student [...]
As Banned Book week approaches it appears that the book censors are in competition to suppress some the most interesting and recognized authors and books! Buckling under pressure from vocal individuals with narrow ideological agendas, school districts are betraying their primary responsibility: to provide young people with a quality, wide-ranging education and help them develop into thinking members of society. [...]
Nudity in art appears to be controversial whether exhibited in a public space in the US, or created by India’s most renowned artist. And so is the artistic treatment of religious icons. India’s greatest contemporary artist, M. F. Hussain, died June 9th, 2011, at 95, still in self-imposed exile caused by the hundreds of legal cases filed against him in [...]
A Seattle billboard removed by Clear Channel Outdoor It is appalling that the trustees of CUNY voted not to bestow an honorary degree on Tony Kushner, the acclaimed Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, because a trustee disagreed with his views on Israel. Denying him this honor solely because of his political views violates core First Amendment principles and is [...]
Last October we reported about an incident at the Loveland Museum/Gallery in Colorado where a woman ripped into a lithograph after she busted the artwork’s plexiglass case with a crowbar. She did this because God told her to do it. In her explanation of the vandalism, Kathleen Folden refers to the similar destruction of Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ in Australia [...]
Susan Burns, the woman who tried to tear a Paul Gauguin painting off a wall at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., stated her reasons thus: “I feel that Gauguin is evil. He has nudity and is bad for the children. He has two women in the painting and it’s very homosexual. I was trying to remove it. [...]
Update: As the Boston Herald reports, Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree has issued a statement insisting that the Maine Department of Labor mural (removed in late March by order of Gov. Paul LePage), should be put back up in the Department so the state won’t have to repay to the federal government most of its $60,000 cost. She adds, "Public art [...]
The latest billboard controversy, around the removal of a billboard paid for by a Texas anti-abortion group from an advertising space in SoHo, owned by Lamar Advertising, comes as no surprise. In 2006 Lamar refused to run photographs by Polish artist Karolina Bregula that show same-sex couples holding hands. The photographs were to be displayed as part of a Real [...]
Unveiled in 1922, Frederick MacMonnies' Triumph of Civic Virtue was called sexist from the get go. And sexist it unarguably is (to an extent that it borders on a parody of sexism): Virtue is a club-wielding man, while Vice is two women being trampled beneath Virtue’s feet. The statue stirred up so much public debate that the city held a [...]
Stanley Bermudez' Heritage? (above) had been displayed for just over two weeks at the Gainesville State College Gallery before Martha Nesbitt, the President of GSC, ordered its removal. The painting, which layers images of a Klansman and a lynching upon a Confederate battle flag, drew protests spurred by a post on Southern Heritage Alerts. The Heritage Preservation Association, which has [...]
In response to the national outrage over the removal of artist David Wojnarowicz’ video Fire In My Belly from the National Portrait Gallery following pressure from the Catholic League and Republican Congressional leaders, the Smithsonian Board of Regents formed an Advisory Panel*.
ARTINFO reports: After outraging the art world, several of its funders, and a giant chunk of its constituency with its fatal decision to remove David Wojnarowicz’s “Fire in My Belly” from the National Portrait Gallery’s “Hide/Seek” show, the Smithsonian has chosen to respond to its critics in a dramatic, and rather odd, fashion: instead of returning the work to the [...]