Last night I was interviewed by a reporter from the Los Angeles Times. My painting (part of a group tapestry on display at the incoming international flights area) is involved in a censorship controversy.
My painting depicts a nude woman, who is holding a bleeding heart near her chest, in the background the twin towers are on fire. See: http://www.eyespeak.org/ Many LA artists were invited to paint on this tapestry ---which was scheduled to tour, then would be encapsulated for posterity. Our commitment to participate had been assured prior to 9/11, but in the days following the attack we had been asked to start painting. Bewildered by the events of those past few days, many of us (evidently) created art work that related to the feelings of loss, confusion, impending war, etc.
I actually thought that my portion of the tapestry was mild, compared to what I usually paint. At the time, I did not want to be reactionary and (in my mind) felt that I was addressing the uncertainty of the period--?through this timeless nude figure that clutched our collective heart and ascended from the rubble of tragedy.
Over the last few weeks, the tapestry (mostly my painting) has been the center of critique---that may account for my insomnia for the last week now. The Airport Authorities are offended by the nudity. A few minutes away from the airport, billboards hang over very public freeways with women posed provocatively in skimpy attire, announcing a local men?s club. Somehow the Airports? prudishness does not seem befitting.
I found out, last night, that the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs department has been active in defending my art against the LA Airport Authorities----using whatever powers they have to fight for the right of my visual voice to be heard. The Airport Authorities have also turned on the other artists whose work is adjacent to mine, saying their work is ?disturbing?. Heck yes, its ?disturbing?---we were all disturbed by the bombings at that time!
The Los Angeles Times will break the story on Wednesday, February 11th, in the California section written by Jennifer Oldham. I don?t know what type of reaction I will get from this public forum---but I do feel blessed to have the LA Cultural Affairs in my corner.
Speak out against art censorship.
Your comments can be forwarded to the linked address created by the National Coalition Against Censorship, Arts Advocacy Project, 275 7th Avenue, New York, NY 10001 --- at http://www.ncac.org or email@example.com
They are the representing agency for our cause.
The exhibit is on display in two sections of the Tom Bradley International Terminal. One display case is located in the lobby on view for the general public. The other display case is located in the Customs area and limited to incoming international travelers.
The tapestries will be de-installed on Thursday, February 12, 2004. Join us in spreading the word. Your support is greatly needed at this time.
If you have questions about the exhibit please feel free to call Joseph Beckles at
323-294-1950 or 323-683-7937.
List of Artists involved in the project:
Slide show the tapestry
Co-curator of Hijas de Juarez Exhibit 2002, to denounce & protest the murders of women in Juarez. Her art was featured on PBS Life & Times segment on Art. She received the LA City Council Award for Creating Public Awareness Through Art.