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.
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 […]
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.
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.
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 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.