Friday, May 12, 2006

NY TImes, 5/12

The NY Times reported on the situation today.

We STILL have not been allowed to see our artwork. We are hoping to look at it soon and asses the damages before we move anything to the new space.

Students Relocate a Shuttered Art Show

By RANDY KENNEDY
Published: May 12, 2006

A group of graduate art students whose thesis exhibition was shut down last week after a city official found it offensive have accepted an offer by their college to relocate the show to the Dumbo neighborhood in Brooklyn.

On May 4, a day after the Brooklyn College exhibition opened, the Brooklyn parks commissioner, Julius Spiegel, ordered it closed and changed the locks to the exhibition space, a World War II memorial hall near the Brooklyn Bridge. He said that some of the artworks — featuring, among other things, a live rat and a sculpture of a hand holding a penis — were not appropriate for families, violating an oral agreement he said his department had reached six years ago with Brooklyn College on the use of the space.

On Monday, over the objections of the 18 students involved, the college sent trucks and removed all the artworks from the hall. The students protested and began planning to file a federal lawsuit against both the Parks Department and the college, claiming that their free-speech rights had been violated.

In addition to the hand-and-penis sculpture, works in the show included a video with sexual overtones in which women are dressed as nuns, and a watercolor of a man's torso, with an accompanying narrative about a sexual encounter between two men, one of whom used the computer screen name Dick Cheney.

The students said yesterday that while they still planned to file the lawsuit, they had agreed to a proposal to reopen the exhibition at 70 Washington Street in Brooklyn because they felt it was important for the work to be seen. The relocated show is to open on May 24 and continue through June 16.

The new location, with 6,000 square feet of unoccupied retail space on the ground floor of a building that houses luxury condominiums, was offered free to the college by David C. Walentas, a major developer in the neighborhood. For several years Mr. Walentas had leased space in the 12-story building at low rents to artists and small galleries, but all had to leave in 2004 to make way for the condo conversion.

"There was definitely some heated argument about the philosophical implications of what we're doing, but I think the majority of the students wanted to do this," said Marni Kotak, one of the artists. "We wanted to do this as quickly as possible, so we could basically move on from this whole situation."

25 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In all photo documentation of installing your work, you should all wear white gloves, like real art handlers do. Wear them at the opening too and make a performance out of it.

The director of the gallery and administration are taking too long to let you assess the damge to your work. Who has seen the work? Are they trying to repair it?

Was your work insured as it should have been at the War Memorial? Is it insured now and will it be at Wallentas's space? How about during the moves? Usually art is insured door to door, round trip. CHECK THIS OUT!

Is there also a "verbal agreement" on the new space or is something in writing this time? Does it include the "family friendly" part too? They wouldn’t be stupid enough to do that again. Right?

And last but not least, will there be the standard appropriate warning sign on the door this time?

This whole thing was an avoidable shame.

11:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An avoidable shame? Probably.

But also the most galling and keystone kop case study of adminstrative and public relations incompetence I have ever seen.

When enough time has passed, I will use it as a case study.

And a fascinating cautionary tale of what you get when you think you are hiring expert outside PR counsel. You get the expertise to be sure but, as this case illustrates, you also often get someone who doesn't have the slightest idea of your institutional culture.

Ill never forget the insenstivity toward faculty and students that got worse at every point when with a little sensitivity it could have gotten better.

Have a wonderful exhibit. You may be heading for wonderful artistic careers. If there is any justice, though, several adminstrative careers will be at a merciful end.

8:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was poor obscene 3rd grade level artwork. It seems to me when people have no talent they resort to obsceen language and images (Look at the TV, music and Movie industries)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Censorship is always needed. In the last 20 years or so declining censorship has brought up a whole generation of moron kids.

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Anonymous 2006 MFA 1 of 18 said...

That whole generation of moron kids' mean age is 33.

That's right, were not children.

Children yell and scream and cry.

All we ever wanted was to be asked to the 'big peoples' table so we could work this out like adults.

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