Friday, May 05, 2006

Public Statement Issued by Provost Matthews Regarding MFA Exhibition Shut Down - Need Responses from All MFA Students ASAP

"In keeping with the public nature of the space, as well as its position as an honored war memorial, Brooklyn College has respectfully decided to move the entire student exhibit to our campus. Brooklyn College has a long tradition of educating fine artists. Throughout, the administration of the College has supported our students' rights to freedom of artistic expression. We are proud to display our student art here at the College."

Email me asap with your responses at marnikotak@yahoo.com

29 Comments:

Anonymous M Piontkowski said...

Where will th work be shown? How will it be moved? What about the work which was built on site and can't be moved without being destroyed?

4:58 PM  
Blogger Piontkowski said...

I agree with Carla, the show should be in the space promised, uncensored. It would be almost impossible to "just move the show".

5:00 PM  
Blogger James Wagner said...

The College has decided to cooperate in protecting the New York public from sex, even in an aggressive and summary manner.

Lesson: Art is best kept locked up unless it's really old or pretty much dead otherwise. Or: Don't scare the horses' asses in a tinhorn town.

If even a great academic institution refuses to take a stand for itself and those it serves, eventually this city will be abandoned entirely to the philistines and the deep pockets who are already driving out, or keeping out, those who have always made it attractive.

5:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a cowardly decision dressed up as if it is some kind of victory. This should be completely unacceptable to the student artists. I am stunned at how quickly the administration at Brooklyn caved in and agreed to move the exhibit.

And since when does hiring Mayor Giuliani's PR staffer Colleen Roche constitute fighting back at this arbitrary and indefensible decision? Mayor Giuliani led the fight against the Brooklyn Museum when it dared exhibit something offensive.

Here is what the MFA students should ask the Brooklyn College administration:

1) Why was this decision made without consulting us?

2) What specific efforts were made to keep the show at its original location?

3) Did or did not CUNY's lawyers offer any advice or take any action that would have allowed the exhibit to remain at the memorial.

4) Did CUNY's Central Administration put any pressure on Brooklyn College to cave in so as not to offend conservative trustees?

5) In sum, other than hearsay and talk and a weasely standar PR statement, what specific evidence can Brooklyn College's administration provide that they did anything to make a clear stand for first amendment rights?

The statement issued can talk about freedom of expression from here to eternity. This is a standard bureaucratic technique. But look to their actions, not the lofty words.

THEY CAVED IN ONE DAY. ONE DAY.

And those who worked hard on the exhibit desrve to know why and what the course of evevnts were that led to this decision.

Disgusting and shameful.

Finally, I am not suggesting it would have been easy for Brooklyn College to fight Commisioner Speigel and others. A lot of political resources would be in play.

But part of what an adminsitration with principles does when such fundamental rights are challenged is take a deep breath and do the right thing. Instead what we got was the most anemic and short-lived fight for freedoim of expression I have ever seen.

No I have one more thing to say. I think the students involved should -- in the absence of some straight talk from the Brooklyn administratioin about why this was agreed to -- consider civil disobedience.

It is definitely more than a little weenieish for someone like me to suggest this when I cant be there to participate. Its just that I am dumbfounded at this almost instant toadying to power.

Guys, Ive been on the side that has the power! Nobody gives in this easily.

5:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"In keeping with the public nature of the space, as well as its position as an honored war memorial, Brooklyn College has respectfully decided to move the entire student exhibit to our campus. Brooklyn College has a long tradition of educating fine artists. Throughout, the administration of the College has supported our students' rights to freedom of artistic expression. We are proud to display our student art here at the College."

I just reread this statement again and am even more stunned. Brooklyn College "has supported our students' rights to freedom of artistic expression."?

How?

I am almost apoplectic. Don;t fall for this weasel statement. I have been the weasel who has written these!! We counted on people falling for these mealy-mouthed statements.

Don't!

5:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We move nothing. This is not our responsibility.

John Avelluto

7:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, by the way. What did these wonderful courageous soldiers die for? Abitrary policies with all the due process affoirded a street thief in the People's Republic of China?

8:47 PM  
Anonymous rosemary taylor said...

As a current student in the MFA program at Brooklyn college, I would like to say that any decision less than re-opening the War Memorial is unexceptable, and should not be allowed to occur. Since the Provost took it upon himself to lay down to the intimidating Parks Department of NYC and never once took into consideration the work and FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS of the students, not only should we Protest, the City's closing and censorship of the show but it looks like an equally aggressive protest needs to be aimed at the college itself particularly addressed to the Provost and all of his conservative trustees and boardmembers,How could one think allowing the work to be shown in the libraty is good enough. It is not good enough it is FAR from acceptable, and I urge my fellow students to stand in solidarity not only against the Parks Dept but also against these People that are Suppose to be on OUR side. DO not move it to Brooklyn College, it is physically impossible for the show to exist in any building on this campus,
it is doubling degrading to the hard work and DEBT ( i.e. tuition) these students have gone into all to have this one show and a graduate level education.

8:49 PM  
Anonymous rosemary taylor said...

rosemary taylor said...
As a current student in the MFA program at Brooklyn college, I would like to say that any decision less than re-opening the War Memorial is unexceptable, and should not be allowed to occur. Since the Provost took it upon himself to lay down to the intimidating Parks Department of NYC and never once took into consideration the work and FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS of the students, not only should we Protest, the City's closing and censorship of the show but it looks like an equally aggressive protest needs to be aimed at the college itself particularly addressed to the Provost and all of his conservative trustees and boardmembers,How could one think allowing the work to be shown in the libraty is good enough. It is not good enough it is FAR from acceptable, and I urge my fellow students to stand in solidarity not only against the Parks Dept but also against these People that are Suppose to be on OUR side. DO not move it to Brooklyn College, it is physically impossible for the show to exist in any building on this campus,
it is doubling degrading to the hard work and DEBT ( i.e. tuition) these students have gone into all to have this one show and a graduate level education.

8:55 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

If there were a gallery at Brooklyn College, I am sure that the students would have been happy to exhibit there. Given that there is not, and that some of the work at the War Memorial was constructed for the space, it seems an unfair penalty to make the students work again for an outcome that is even less advantageous than the War Memorial (which is not a gallery either, but was at least already a finished show). There are many spaces for rent in New York City and it seems only fair that the if the school's administration wants to agree to evict the exhibition from the War Memorial, then it should support the students by working with them to find an exhibition space that would be even more ideal than the original venue as a showcase for their talent and diligence.

9:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brooklyn College is failing in it's responsibilities to it's students and the parks department is failing in it's responsibilities to the people of NYC.

The war memorial was the only place that we students could show our artwork for the last couple years because there is no space at the college for the show.

Shame on the administration for thinking so low of it's students.

-Chris Hagerty MFA'05

12:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Over my rotten carcass!!!!! this show is well hung where it is. the provost is not speaking for me!!!

Augusto

1:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Brooklyn and their PR counsel Roche were honest they would issue this:

" Despite our early promises of a vigorous defense of first amendment protection, we quickly concluded that the potential political and financial costs of standing up to authority was simply more than we were willing to play. The Parks Commissioner is not in and of himself a political power, but his direct and indirect links to the Borough President and various legislators could conceivably have poisoned realtionships from which we gain legislative member items and other favors and resources.

So, while in theory we support these principles, we didn't support them quite enough to want to risk anything. Yes, we know that the only meaningful fights for first amendment rights occur when something -- rights, resources, -- are risked.

But if the truth be told, we just weren't up to the trouble of resisting those who could make our lives difficult, everyone from Borough officials to conservative trustees."

8:27 AM  
Anonymous fellow curator said...

The director/curator of the gallery should have put up a warning label that some art wasn't appropriate for children.
This is standard gallery and museum practice.
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.
This is absolutely standard curatorial practice and a decent compromise everyone in the US arts community has made with the general public for the last 15 years.
Why didn't the gallery director know about it?
It would have saved Brooklyn College a great deal of bad press.

11:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you big babies. you've known for 5 years that you have a space only by the largesse of the governement and you do nothing to develope an independent space?? you're shocked by our public servants caving in to conservative morality after six years of Bush??? jesus, didn't you go through this already with Giuliani and the Saatchi exhibit?? you're all a bunch of self rightous hipocrites.

11:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just checked the Broooklyn College art department website. It says there is a gallery currently being constructed on campus. Anyone seen any gallery construction that I missed? Why is there a director of a gallery that doesn't yet exist? And why desn't he know how to label an exhibit properly?

12:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just checked the Broooklyn College art department website. It says there is a gallery currently being constructed on campus. Anyone seen any gallery construction that I missed? Why is there a director of a gallery that doesn't yet exist? And why desn't he know how to label an exhibit properly?

12:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just checked the Broooklyn College art department website. It says there is a gallery currently being constructed on campus. Anyone seen any gallery construction that I missed? Why is there a director of a gallery that doesn't yet exist? And why desn't he know how to label an exhibit properly?

12:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just checked the Broooklyn College art department website. It says there is a gallery currently being constructed on campus. Anyone seen any gallery construction that I missed? Why is there a director of a gallery that doesn't yet exist? And why desn't he know how to label an exhibit properly?

12:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just checked the Broooklyn College art department website. It says there is a gallery currently being constructed on campus. Anyone seen any gallery construction that I missed? Why is there a director of a gallery that doesn't yet exist? And why desn't he know how to label an exhibit properly?

12:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You people are really naive. The administration is there to protect the administrations jobs, not the students. Grow up. BC is a city agency. Who do you think they are going to side with?

12:26 PM  
Anonymous hunter mfa said...

Then who's side are the gallery people on? The student's or the admin's?

12:33 PM  
Blogger Doug MFA 03 said...

I was saddened a couple of years ago wheb BC built a new librabry with no gallery space. That was a good chance blown.

The student gallery is small, and in a seldom traversed corridor in the college.

This is just another example of guttless politicians having a knee jerk response to practically nothing.

Typical.

2:41 PM  
Anonymous dina sartz said...

I am an artist. I have seen the work. It's pretty poor "art" for the most part. Most of the "concepts" have been done to death since the 70's or so. Most of these redundant "concepts" are poorly executed. Shame on the professors. Shame on the students. It's lazy and it's insulting to the viewer. This is the reason that very little art from the last fifty years will have real lasting impact.

1:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

omg! just heard the provost pulled a bait and switch early this morning with the students showing up for a meeting she called. they got there and found it was canceled at the same time trucks came to the war memorial to remove the art. fantastic move! right out of machevelli or the chinese war guy. or tony soprano.
anyone heard an update?

2:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

matthews is full of shit, giving lipservice to the students, then dragging their work off when thye aren't looking. disgusting.

7:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

university of florida

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