Friday, May 05, 2006

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For press inquiries, please contact:
Marni Kotak
marnikotak@yahoo.com
917-692-1938

BROOKLYN COLLEGE/CUNY MFA THESIS SHOW SHUT DOWN BY CITY

BROOKLYN PARKS COMMISSIONER CENSORS SHOW FOR SEXUAL CONTENT

NEW YORK (May 4, 2006) After a successful and well-attended opening last night, the Brooklyn College MFA thesis exhibition, Plan B, held at the Brooklyn War Memorial, was suddenly shut down this afternoon by the Brooklyn Borough Parks Commissioner because of complaints of sexual content.

The student show, mounted as a graduation requirement for the Master of Fine Arts Degree at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, apparently received complaints for explicit subject matter from one or more visitors to the May 3 opening, and was ordered immediately shut down by the Brooklyn Borough Parks Commissioner, Julius Spiegel. This came as a surprise to the students who have been working under the direction of Brooklyn College faculty in a program administered by the City of New York. The exhibition was even attended by the President and Provost of Brooklyn College, who reported that they enjoyed the show.

Today at approximately 3:30pm, MFA students Sarah Phillips, Yejin Jun and Christopher Moss, monitoring the exhibition at the Brooklyn War Memorial, were ordered by the Brooklyn War Memorial Building Supervisor to immediately leave the premises as a locksmith working for the Parks Department changed the locks and refused to allow the students to re-enter the space.

Locked within the space is the artwork of the program’s eighteen graduating artists, developed over two years of intensive graduate study. Each of the artists has invested thousands of hours of labor as well as the costs of for tuition and art supplies in developing the work presented in this thesis exhibition, the culmination of their graduate study. Some of the artists have even created large scale, site-specific works specifically for the exhibition, and would have to completely destroy the pieces in order to move them. A pet rat included in one of the installations is currently in need of food and in danger of starvation if the artist cannot get in to monitor her work and feed the animal.

The artists in the exhibition include: Carla Aspenberg, Jill Auckenthaler, John Avelluto, Zoe Cohen, David Davron, Susan C. Dessel, Carl James Ferrero, Carrie Fucile, Pamela Gordon, Yejin Jun, Diane Kosup, Marni Kotak, Augusto Marin, Akiko Mori, Christopher Moss, Sarah Phillips, Megan Piontkowski and Tamas Veszi.

The exhibition was scheduled to be open through May 25th at the Brooklyn College Art Gallery at the Brooklyn War Memorial Building, Cadman Plaza, in downtown Brooklyn. The opening was held last night, May 3, from 6 to 9pm.

11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hopefully your exhibition will be reopened very soon. I have reveiwed the website and would very much like to see the wotk. Signage informing of the content allows visitors the choice of seeing the work in question or not. Presently noone has this choice, What are the legal rights and respnsibilities involved in protecting this freedom of choice?

9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I sent this press release to every NY news source that listed an email address. I listed Marni as the contact/reply to email. Hope it helps. Make sure you contact the local chapter of the ASPCA re: the poor rat.

10:03 AM  
Anonymous Peter Baer said...

Part of the contract in a country that cherishes Freedom of Speech involves giving every individual an equal opportunity to be heard, to be seen, or to be allowed to make a fool out of him/herself.
.
Open the Exhibit, it is essential if we wish to remain a free society!

10:27 AM  
Blogger Rob Paterson said...

Without having seen the artwork that these few people find offensive, I can't imagine anything being so outrageous that the show would have to be canceled. This is what happens when art is "judged by its cover" without exploring what it is trying to say, which I'm sure is interesting and provocative in the best possible way. It's truly sad that in our supposedly progressive country, some people are still Puritanical and uncomfortable with their sexuality and are frightened of being challenged by artistic statements. Furthermore, these students should obviously not be punished for the mistakes of someone else. Apparently, they were given no warning and this process was handled very poorly. Shame on the Brooklyn War Memorial and Brooklyn College! This show should not be canceled because the displeasure of a few narrow-minded people.

Dr. Robert Paterson
Composer and Guest Professor, Sarah Lawrence College

10:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am dismayed at the Parks Department's reactionary response to a few complaints. Censorship is not only unnacceptable, it does nothing to address the ideas of the artist OR the viewer. We would all be better served by allowing the artist to respond to the concerns of viewers in a written statement and, further, having an open dialogue between visitors to the show and the artists by way of gallery talks to which visitors can hear the artist's speak about their work and ask questions. The only thing the Parks Department has done is to promote intolerance and ignorance.
-Professor Jennifer Ball
Art Department, Brooklyn College

11:37 AM  
Anonymous Doug Singsen said...

The Parks Department's actions in this case are completely outrageous. I don't know what their legal powers are in this situation, but it seems likely that they are vastly overstepping their rights. Beyond that, their actions are extremely unfair to all the artists who spent years working on their projects. I hope that the exhibition is reopened soon.

Doug Singsen
Adjunct Professor, Art History Dept., Brooklyn College
Ph.D. Candidate, Art History Dept., CUNY Graduate Center

11:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Doug Singsen: This is what rate my professors wrote about you:


"Pretty boring & has a very monotone voice, & is usually 10min late for every class, cutting the time you have to put up with his voice down to 40min.Hw every class but it's very easy. Midterm/final easy if you study material he goes over in class.Gives extra credit worth up to 10pts on your final grade, which makes it possible to do nothing & pass."

9:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peter Singsen--why don't you spend less time protesting and more time learning how to teach? I was your student and you need some help in that area. I hope the art you produce is less affected than you are.

9:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Doug Singsen: This is what rate my professors wrote about you:


"Pretty boring & has a very monotone voice, & is usually 10min late for every class, cutting the time you have to put up with his voice down to 40min.Hw every class but it's very easy. Midterm/final easy if you study material he goes over in class.Gives extra credit worth up to 10pts on your final grade, which makes it possible to do nothing & pass."

9:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shouldn't the director/curator of the gallery have put up a warning label that some art wasn't appropriate for children?
This is standard gallery and museum practice. Zach feuer even has one up at his gallery right now in chelsea.
This is as old as the Mappelthorpe exhibit and the NEA 4. and this is how it has been dealt with since the 90's.

10:58 AM  
Blogger brandon schreck said...

The negligence, secrecy, and resulting damage caused by the College is nothing short of damage to property, emotional and psychological assault. The public needs to understand how much time and effort, research, to name a few things, that each artist has put into their work. This is worse than censorship, because the process Brooklyn College has taken shows collusion with the Parks Department. The mishandling is an abomination. Richard Nixon should be impressed.

11:53 AM  

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