Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Cod Pieces are Back (I miss the yarn) or: how is little Jimmy gonna get ripped if there is GENITALIA EVERYWHERE

Not only in the summer do we feel the glow of censorship here in DC. It's been a warm winter and we get a a nice tepid January spike with the recent removal of Angela White and Regina Miele's works at the Results Gym Mid City artist's show.

The Post's reliable source reports on it this morning with an off-putting light hearted lack of alarm. But don't worry, it's not censorship, says club director Sarah French, it's just that darned policy:
"Because of our familty friendly environment, we don't hang artwork that adults wouldn't feel comfortable discussing with their children."
Now if I'm taking my tween kids to the gym to get their beefcake game on I think it's time to tell them the story of the smudge of paint that is the penis--lest some ellipictical addicted pervert in the steamer shows him first. Hmm, so you got this body thing right, and grab that protein pack and shove it in the creatine booste--whoaDUDEGETTHAT PENISOUTOFHERE!!

You can see the censored works here. Story at painterly visions too.

EDIT: oh yeah, open thread. Should DC galleries (or psuedogym/office arenas lay down some ideas about nudity in their spaces before they alter, ripup, or cancel a show? Or should we just be glad alternative spaces like this exist?


Blogger Lenny said...

Good post! Still amazing that these things happen!

10:39 AM, January 24, 2006  
Anonymous Sondra Arkin said...

Frankly, I think it is perfectly within the rights of Results to determine the subject matter of the art hung in their facility. As a member of the Mid City Artists, I believe that if we are hanging a non-curated show in an alternate space, I think we should consider their policies. Angela White has 5 pieces in the show -- as many as any artist . And the fact that two pieces were set aside is really a non-issue. Several of the pieces in the show clearly have their penis-prints intact. Is getting some buzz at the risk of showing Results in a poor light worth it?

11:53 AM, January 24, 2006  
Blogger adrian said...

The buzz is good.

Is it worth it? I think it needs to be seen what fallout (if anything) from the style section article is like. In July, Ming-Yi Sung's work had to be edited or deleted from a similair commercial venue:
A resulting front page syle section article came out to decry the situation, similar to this morning's Post.

While I regard Results' decision in poor taste I don't think that their business and art traffic will do anything but increase after a mention in The Reliable Source. It does suck that arts coverage is so thin in the Post that the only mention of this show is shoved to the gossip column.

Sondra, did members of Mid City Artists know of the policy ahead of time? Was there a written or verbal contract?

12:43 PM, January 24, 2006  
Blogger Lenny said...

He who owns the walls...

3:18 PM, January 24, 2006  
Anonymous Sondra Arkin said...

Lenny is correct. I guess I was dismayed because this kind of alternative space should be able to make their policies on what is appropriate. And with 4-5 other similar pieces in the show — and as on of the people who hung them — I thought she was well-represented. In the agreement each artist signs it says: “The Art Director and or the Managing Member of Results the Gym – Capitol Hill reserve the right, at their sole discretion, to withdraw and return works from any exhibition at any time.” Yes, I think they should be more explicit in their contract if genitalia is the issue. But that is their right.Those pieces in question weren't pulled from the show; they were never hung as part of it.

I agree that our media arts coverage is weak — but this isn’t an important show. I’m also very sensitive about the issue of censorship — but we do it all the time, under other guises, like curatorship.

3:39 PM, January 24, 2006  
Blogger James W. Bailey said...

Dear Adrian,

Great post. And thanks to you, Anne and Lenny for bringing it to everybody's attention.

I serve on the board of the League of Reston Artists. One of our exhibition venues (a government building) uses the following language in their policy:

"Nude works of fine art are acceptable as long as they do not depict recognizable forms of male and/or female genitalia."

As I tell our artist members, “It's PTDB hanging rules here, ya'll: no pussies, no tits, no dicks, and no balls.”

On a side note, it’s also my great pleasure to be the board appointed art inspection cop who's job it is to closely (and I do mean closely ;0)examine potential red flag works of art busting loose with spread eagle genitalia prior hanging at this venue! Lenny will be happy to know that I can positively report that I’m seeing more and better painted PTDBs. The only problem is we can’t hang these great nude works at this venue.

Of course, like everybody else that has an attorney write their policies, they also reserve the right to remove any work of art for any reason at anytime from the building.


4:39 PM, January 24, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's the human body, for goodness' sake. Results is of course within their rights to do as they feel they should and thank goodness for the creative thinking about what could be a mundane space. What most concerns me is the level of fear we are still at with the artistic nude. Children who encounter such art will not fall apart. The very real fear parents have is irrational and a waste of energy. Yes, let's imbue the nude body with more drama and shame. A great way to help with our chronic body image and eating disorder problems.

12:52 AM, January 25, 2006  
Blogger Alexandra said...

In one hand, it is "still amazing that these things happen"...but I also respect a gallery's or alternative exhibit spaces' to set restrictions on what they feel is appropiate- JUST so long as the restrictions are clear and upfront from the begining, ie when a contract is presented/signed...

On a somewhat related note, I've been in more than one political shows where the curator refused to show any work with the twin towers in the piece...but invited those artists to submit/exhibit other work.

2:36 AM, January 25, 2006  

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