Brooklyn College MFA Show Shut Down Hits AP Wire
All Rights Reserved
The Associated Press State & Local Wire
May 5, 2006 Friday 9:35 PM GMT
SECTION: STATE AND REGIONAL
LENGTH: 453 words
HEADLINE: Sexy Brooklyn art exhibit shut down by city officials
BYLINE: By VERENA DOBNIK, Associated Press Writer
DATELINE: NEW YORK
It's not all about the sex there's also a hungry rat involved.
An art show that includes a live pet rat was shut down by New York City officials just a day after its debut this week, leaving the rodent locked in a Brooklyn building with the artwork, said Marni Kotak, one of 18 Brooklyn College artists whose works are on display.
"What was such an emergency that they had to immediately shut down the show, without talking to us?" Kotak asked.
The exhibit, which also includes watercolors depicting gay sex and sculpted male genitalia illuminated in a box, opened Wednesday at the city-owned Brooklyn War Memorial, which is used as gallery space by Brooklyn College. The school is part of the City University of New York, or CUNY, which is run by New York City.
On Thursday afternoon, a parks official made a surprise appearance at the memorial. The gallery space in downtown Brooklyn's Cadman Plaza was quickly closed.
"The memorial supervisor came with a locksmith and had the locks changed. And he told the artists they had to leave the building immediately," Kotak said.
The Department of Parks issued a statement saying that an agreement with Brooklyn College stipulated that the space could be used for art exhibits provided they be "appropriate for families."
While the opening "was a success," said Kotak, "it seems somebody who came to the opening complained."
The "somebody" was the Brooklyn parks commissioner, Julius Spiegel, who decided to close the exhibit art that's part of a Brooklyn College graduation requirement for students completing their master's degree.
"We've been working with the faculty, and the provost came to the show. There was never any mention to us that this would be an issue and now, we're being punished," Kotak said, adding, "We've all worked so hard to get the show together, we've invested thousands of hours."
The closing will not affect their academics, but the students planned a rally in front of the memorial on Saturday. And they're fielding comments on a blog advertising the protest with the come-on, "Bring your uncensored self and everyone you know!"
Kotak's main worry Friday was her white pet rat, Daisy, who was in her cage behind locked doors.
"I set up an installation of a third-grade classroom in which the rat was a symbol of bad behavior: It's very cute and sweet, but has a very bad connotation," said the artist of her pet's role in the exhibit.
Never mind art even a rat has to eat.
As Kotak headed for the locked-up exhibit Friday, she said: "I'm going to try to feed it. It's been two days."
She later reported that a parks employee let her in and she fed Daisy. The exhibit door was promptly locked again.
On the Net:
Students' blog: http://www.plancensored.blogspot.com