If you’re curious about “School Days,” the Linda Cunningham artwork that was banned from an Emerald Art Center show for its commentary on gun violence, head to New Zone Gallery, where’s its now on display. Our Slant column from the 1-9 issue made an open plea calling for another gallery to display the work. Kudos to New Zone Gallery, home of the Salon de Refusés, for embracing thought-provoking art.
The local case of censorship is also getting national attention.
The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) — “an alliance of over 50 national non-profit organizations united in defense of free expression” — blogged about the censorship incident here. Today, Jan. 16, the NCAC Arts Advocacy Project sent a letter to the Emerald Art Center board. The NCAC writes:
“We urge you to revise your exhibition policies toassure that the Emerald Art Center does not become a repressive censor, trampling the artistic freedom of its own members. Such a revision would assure the continuing viability and prosperity of the EAC as a place of artistic excellence thatwould attract new members, rather than lose current ones.
‘School Days’ brings awareness to the continuing threat of gun violence in schools, a message that the Center’s coordinator agreed was ‘important’ and that most people considered ‘powerful.’ According to press reports, however, the Board found the piece ‘too controversial’ and ‘inappropriate’ for the members’ show.
Art that engages in issues that we all care about inevitably elicits emotional response: sometimes it elates, at other times it disturbs, but it always provokes though: this is what art is supposed to do. By labeling such art as inappropriate andcensoring it, the Emerald Art Center is doing a disservice to all Association members and is also jeopardizing its position as a relevant cultural institution.”
The letter was signed by over 10 local artists including Rogene Manas and Jud Turner, who cancled an upcoming show at the EAC because of the censorship.
You can read the entire NCAC letter here.