Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Lawyer says students will sue city over closed New York exhibit (AP International)

Copyright 2006 Associated Press
All Rights Reserved
Associated Press Worldstream

May 9, 2006 Tuesday 1:35 AM GMT


LENGTH: 431 words

HEADLINE: Lawyer says students will sue city over closed New York exhibit

BYLINE: By ELIZABETH LeSURE, Associated Press Writer



Tensions over a Brooklyn College art show that parks officials deemed too racy for a public war memorial escalated as the school dismantled the exhibit and a lawyer for the artists said they planned to sue the city on freedom of expression rights.

The exhibit, which included representations of male genitalia, watercolor paintings of gay sex and a live rat, was housed in the city-owned Brooklyn War Memorial until the Department of Parks & Recreation shut it down the day after it opened last week.

The World War II memorial is used as gallery space by the college, which is part of the City University of New York system. The parks department said an agreement with the school stipulated that art exhibits at the memorial be "appropriate for families."

Brooklyn College moved the artwork on Monday and planned to keep it on campus until it could be installed in retail space donated by a real estate developer, school spokeswoman Colleen Roche said in an e-mail.

The 18-student show, a graduation requirement, is the thesis for the masters of fine arts degree and had been scheduled to run through May 25.

Civil rights attorney Norman Siegel, a 1965 graduate of Brooklyn College, said he was representing the students in a freedom of expression lawsuit he planned to file in federal court in Brooklyn.

"A clear message must be sent to the Bloomberg administration that government is not the appropriate body to judge the value of art and government should not, as it is trying to do here, impose a cultural and artistic orthodoxy in the city of New York," Siegel said.

He said that the students would pursue the real estate developer's offer to see how the space compared to the War Memorial but that they planned to move forward with the lawsuit regardless of whether the exhibit is reinstalled at the new space.

Roche said the college would not comment on a "hypothetical" lawsuit. She said the school's provost told the head of the art department and the students about the developer's offer to donate space but she didn't know what their response had been.

Siegel said he was disappointed in the school's actions.

"The college today aided and abetted censorship," he said.

An e-mail sent to a spokeswoman for the city's law department was not immediately returned.

The granite and limestone Brooklyn War Memorial, in Cadman Plaza, is dedicated to Americans who served in World War II. It has a hall with an honor roll listing the names of those who died. It also features larger-than-life statues symbolizing victory and family: a male warrior on the left and a female with a child on the right.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

When is someone going to say the obvious? This was totally avoidable and unnecessary because the gallery staff (director, curator, etc.) should have put in place the usual warning/advisory labels. period. Enough already with the homosexual panic. And what about this "verbal agreement" with the Parks Dept. Do City agencies really "loan" real estate to each other without paper? How are these places insured then? I certainly hope the gallery insured the art work now that its destroyed. You all seem to be going for the big brass ring - First Amendment, but what about something as simple as incompetence?

12:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pin the parks commission to the wall. I think that it is unfathomable that someone would be sensoring exhibits in the 21st century. What is this? The McCarthy era?

2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If McCarthy suceeded, We would not be putting up with this left-wing crap today. The Left want to destroy America's Tradition Values and replace it with "Anything goes" which will in time lead to a collapse of the country. McCarthy was a hero, not a villian. He knew the Communists would be able to ruin use using the Media and Entertainment.

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