SMART TACTICS: Curating Difficult Content examines the internal and external pressures curators must navigate when considering potentially controversial material. Combining decades of advocacy experience with extensive interviews and curatorial surveys, this volume includes both a report on what happens behind the scenes in art institutions and a handbook for confronting the challenges of curating difficult content.
The University of Kentucky has unveiled a new site-specific public artwork by Philadelphia artist Karyn Olivier, commissioned in response to a heated controversy around a fresco that students said was traumatizing, creating a model for balancing conflict and tensions around campus art.
NJ Museum Cites Unconstitutional Legal Principle in Ejecting Artist from Show/ UPDATE: Decision Reversed
The Belskie Museum of Art in northern New Jersey has ejected an invited artist from its exhibit for painting on US flags.
In a landmark case heard in Federal district court in Brooklyn, a judge has ruled that a New York real estate developer must pay millions in damages to a group of 21 graffiti artists to compensate for destroying their work under the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (VARA).
More than 10,000 people have signed an online petition demanding the removal of a Balthus painting in response to “the current climate around sexual assault and allegations that become more public each day.” The Met has refused to remove the work.
The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) vehemently objects to the violation of the public’s right to access art by Guantanamo detainees and thus fully participate in the political conversation around Guantanamo. The new directive also violates the human rights of the detainees under international norms and further destruction of the work would impermissibly suppress documents of historical importance.
Johns Sims was finally able to present his work, "Confederate Flag: A Public Hanging", after years of forced adaptation and abridgment.
Paul Rucker's traveling exhibition REWIND, an urgently relevant multi-media installation that addresses the history of racial injustice in America, was closed to the public by York College of Pennsylvania, less than one week into its run. Paul sat down with NCAC to discuss the incident.
Every time threats of violence succeed in silencing expression, our public sphere is impoverished and even more polarized.
In August, Artspace, a non-profit organization that manages spaces around the country where artists live and work, ordered the removal of an exhibition from the lobby of its property in Everett, Washington. The exhibition contained works by one of its residents, Steven Leyba, an artist of Native American and Jewish descent. Some of the works in the exhibition featured the swastika [...]
Artist Steven Leyba was ordered to remove his paintings despite the fact he was using the symbol to reclaim its original significance in Native American culture.
Efforts to blacklist an artist over a controversial painting are not conducive to the goal of overcoming racial inequity.
A Dispatch from documenta 14: An International Art Exhibition in Which Book Censorship Plays a Central Role
documenta 14, an art festival occurring every 5 years, puts the issue of book censorship front and center this year.
The discussion has brought to light the enduring lack of representation of Native artists in the art historical canon, in art museum exhibitions and in collections. However, it has also shown us a way forward.
NCAC Responds to Walker Art Center’s Statement Affirming Decision to Dismantle Controversial Sculpture
The Walker Art Center has responded to our criticism arguing "NCAC has placed undue emphasis on the work’s material structure over its concept." Read our new response.
NCAC Releases Statement Criticizing Walker Art Center’s Decision to Destroy Controversial Sculpture; UPDATE: Sculpture to be Ceremonially Buried
NCAC has issued a statement signed by several national and international organizations, opposing the Walker's decision to dismantle and destroy the controversial sculpture.
Mintcheva's essay examines and argues for the value of free expression in light of recent controversies over art and racially sensitive content, as well as over cultural appropriation, which have left people to question the usefulness of an absolutist defense of free speech.
While critiquing or protesting artworks is a vital part of a healthy democratic society, cultural institutions who bow to demands to remove or destroy works that engage with contentious political or social issues endanger our ability to maintain a public sphere where ideas and societal problems can be freely identified and discussed.
The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) and Lambda Legal are calling on a Tennessee high school to apologize for removing a displayed student artwork featuring the word “GAYDOM” and a rainbow motif. The groups demand the drawing be immediately restored, arguing that the school’s justification for the removal-- that some students were offended by the artwork-- violates the student artist’s First Amendment rights.
The message government is communicating appears to be that young people's opinions concerning such issues are not respected and don't matter.
A profile of muralist Mike Alewitz describes how his radical politics infuses his work and left him open to many incidents of censorship.
In the aftermath of the Whitney Biennial controversy, NCAC has aggregated the best commentary and opinions on the fraught but necessary incident.
The posters were deemed to break the school's policy that forbids classroom materials that attempt to sway the political opinions of students.
Black History Month Art Exhibition Removed From School Admin. Offices; UPDATE: NCAC & ACLU Urge District to Immediately Restore Exhibit
An exhibition of artworks celebrating Black History Month was removed from display in a San Jose School district building after complaints calling the works offensive.
The number of cases registered in 2016 more than doubled the amount registered in 2015, an increase of 119%, which translates to an extra 469 attacks.
NCAC Responds to American University Museum’s Removal of Controversial Sculpture; UPDATE: NCAC Advises AU Museum on Strategies to Avoid Future Controversy
American University Museum in Washington D.C. flubbed its approach to a controversial sculpture after it claimed it did not want the message of the sculpture to be deemed the institution's own.
Missouri Congressman Defends Student Painting Attacked for Animal Depiction of Police; UPDATE: Without Permission, Rep. Lawmaker Removes Painting
Representative Clay has stood in support of artistic free expression in the face of criticisms that the painting contains an anti-police message.
NCAC’s letter informs Carmel Clay Schools that the pro-life poster represents non-disruptive political speech that is protected under the First Amendment.
The Allentown Art Museum in Pennsylvania chose to move works with a clear anti-Trump message to a separate gallery nearby.
While private corporations have the legal right to set conditions on their rentals, artists and small alternative art venues such as 50/50 need to push back against their total control of public space.
An artwork depicting the Ku Klux Klan, intended to make a statement about post-election U.S.A, was labeled "hate speech" by students at Salem State U.
The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis keeps the conversation going as it responds to anger over racially-charged works in the Kelley Walker exhibition.
A California law that bans the state from selling or buying the Confederate flag may have unintended consequences on freedom of expression.
Artist's Rights is a comprehensive new website designed to help artist's understand their legal rights when faced with censorship. NCAC's Arts Advocacy Program speaks to Creative Capital about the project.
Detroit Artists Face Felony Charges for Protest Graffiti; UPDATE: Artists Reach Out of Court Settlement
Antonio Cosme and William Lucka face a $75,000 fine and four years in prison for protesting the water cut offs in Detroit by graffitiing a Highland Park water tower.
Uni. of Wisconsin-Stout Moves to Censor Paintings of First Nations People; UPDATE: Chancellor Modifies Course, Paintings to be Relocated
The University's Diversity Leadership Team expressed concern the painting's colonial subject matter would reinforce racial stereotypes.
Jersey City Paints Over Mural Portion After Allegations of Racism; UPDATE: Mural Removed, Affirming Need For Clear And Consistent Public Art Policy
Artist Gary Wynans, a Puerto-Rican-Italian, painted himself in the mural. Residents complained the image reinforced racial stereotypes.
Virginia MOCA Removes Gas Mask From Artist’s ‘Makeover’ Statue; UPDATE: NCAC Releases Statement On Behalf Of Artist
The museum alleges Polish artist Olek broke her contract when she implemented the mask, intended to provoke thought about environmental damage.
Aaron Bell's sculpture was censored by NYC's Parks & Recreation department for its "problematic" depiction of a man in a noose.