Art News

 2014

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 Update: Obscene Policing...

Japanese police likened to kayaks after ludicrously arresting artist for supposed obscenity


Link Here 27th December 2014  full story: Censorship in Japan...Japan's ban on the display of genitals in art and films
rokude nashiko vagina kayak A Japanese woman who makes art based on her vagina has been charged with obscenity. She was arrested in early December and has been held in detention since then.

Megumi Igarashi became a victim of police persecution after displaying a supposedly obscene work at a Tokyo sex shop and sent 3D data of her genitals to other people. She famously used the 3D data to design a kayak.

Ms Igarashi was previously arrested in July, but was later released following a legal appeal and public pressure.

The newspaper Asahi Shimbun reported that she read out in court a prepared statement which said:

My works are all meant to induce friendly laughter because they involve cutely decorating sexual organs. The works are not obscene.

Police  also arrested the owner of a Tokyo sex shop for allegedly displaying Ms Igarashi's obscene goods in her shop window from October 2013 until July this year. The woman was later freed after a judge refused to allow prosecutors to question her further.

Authorities however were allowed to continue to detain Ms Igarashi because the judge was concerned that she would destroy evidence or flee , said Asahi Shimbun.

On her website, Ms Igarashi, who has made several items based on her genitals using a silicone mould, said she wanted to make vaginas more casual and pop , much like how penises are regarded as part of pop culture in Japan.

Update: Bail

28th December 2014. Thanks to Alan

Megumi Igarashi's supporters have said that she's out on bail again.

 

 Update: If this is believing in free speech more than most...Then I'm a 3 legged Martian...

Outrage at hindu religious character used in Brooklyn Museum art installation


Link Here 21st December 2014  full story: Rajan Zed...Taking easy offence at hindu imagery
eyes of time Some hindus are upset over a supposedly inappropriate portrayal of the Hindu religious character Kali in a mural at Brooklyn Museum in New York.

This 60-foot Kali wall mural is part of recently opened Eyes of Time exhibition at Brooklyn Museum which is scheduled till July 12. It shows Kali with three legs, three breasts and six arms. Its face is a clock with no actual time.

Hindu soundbite specialist Rajan Zed said in a statement that goddess Kali was highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be thrown around loosely in reimagined versions for dramatic effects on museum walls. Such absurd depiction of goddess Kali with no scriptural backing was hurtful to the devotees.

Zed claimed that Hindus were for free speech as much as anybody else if not more ....BUT... faith was something sacred and attempts at belittling it hurt the devotees. Museums should be more sensitive while handling faith related subjects.

 

 Update: No Plan B...

French arts centre to defy the PC lynch mob trying to ban Exhibit B in Paris


Link Here 8th December 2014
centquartre logo The controversial performance installation Exhibit B by Brett Bailey is set to begin a seven-day run on Sunday in Paris's Centquatre contemporary arts centre.

Campaigners wanting the exhibit banned and claim that the show is racist. Galvanised by the example of the UK where protesters succeeded in getting the show cancelled at London's Barbican theatre in September, the French Collective Against Exhibit B continues to call for a boycott .

But the theatre refuses to back down to the harassment and says the show will go ahead in the name of both free speech and future dialogue over the many difficult issues the show raises.

Unfortunately, there'll be a heavy police presence, says theatre director Jose'-Manuel Goncalves: People, families, won't be able to circulate like they usually do. But the show will go on at Centquatre. He says:

This is not a racist work. If it were, there are laws in France which would ban it. It's an important work. As many people as possible have to see it.

Tickets are sold out, not just for tonight but for the week-long run.

 

 Updated: The Art of Outrage...

Censorship campaigners call for Exhibit B be to be banned in Paris


Link Here 29th November 2014
exhibit b brett bailey Protesters in Paris are now calling for the banning of an art show featuring black actors in cages that mimic the human zoos of the 19th century. It has already been scrapped in London due to a political correctness outcry.

The white South African artist Brett Bailey says his Exhibit B , which mimics the late 19th- and early 20th-century phenomenon of the human zoo , is meant to raise awareness of the racism of Europe's colonial past.

It is due to open in the French capital later this month, but it is now raising heckles among censorship campaigners such as those behind a French petition to have it stopped and who see it as an exhibition composed of degrading representations of black people. A petition that has been signed by 14,000 people.

France's black campaign group CRAN claimed it was not calling for the exhibition to be stopped ...BUT... said that while:

It might be well-intentioned it reinforces stereotypes. It shows black people as passive and as victims, CRAN president Louis-Georges Tin told The Local. It never shows the struggle by black people for their own emancipation.

The two state-funded centres where the show is to take place, the Centquatre and the Theatre Gerard Philippe, vowed in an open letter this week that the show would go ahead and that they would not cave in to protesters who had not even seen the exhibition.

Update: Censored by vandals

29th November 2014. See  article from  thelocal.fr

A divisive art show featuring black actors in cages as a portrayal of 19th century human zoos had to be halted on Thursday after more than 120 aggressive protesters smashed their way into Paris theatre where it was being held.

Journalist Gilda Di Carli who was covering the event for The Local said:

At about 6:40pm things started getting lively as protesters, who numbered around 100 started arguing with police officers. Then the metal barrier was pushed over and everyone, protesters and journalists included, rushed up the stairs toward the entrance of the theatre.

The police were lined up in front of the doors and there was a lot of shouting and chanting. The police were blowing their whistles as protesters chanted slogans such as No to racism and Cancel the show.

It took Paris police five minutes to break up the what theatre directors described as a riot, by which stage protesters had smashed one of the building's window panes and knocked over several barriers.

Two shows took place before theatre director Jean Bellorini decided to cancel other showings.

 

  Censorship Body...

Police censor living artwork in Helsinki


Link Here 17th November 2014
not my body The Baltic Circle contemporary theatre festival in Helsinki has been asked by police to censor its latest work. The exhibit should feature an 83-year-old, naked woman in a glass case, but Helsinki police have demanded that she cover up.

Dries Verhoeven's work Ceci n'est pas mon corps deals with approaches to ageing. The original version has the older lady sitting naked in the glass case, wearing the mask of a younger woman. Organisers say Helsinki is the ninth city they've toured with the show, and the first in which nudity has been a problem.

Tuomo Tuohimaa of Helsinki police claims that families with children might have been offended by the nakedness on show in the work.

The organisers plan to appeal the police decision in the administrative court system.

 

  It's History Now...

French feminist group wants to ban statue depicting iconic V-J Day celebrations


Link Here 16th October 2014
seward johnson unconditional surrender Unconditional Surrender , a statue of a sailor kissing a nurse, is 25-foot sculpture, by US artist Seward Johnson that, is based on Alfred Eisenstaedt's famous photograph Kissing Sailor capturing celebrations after the end of the war with Japan.

Now the French feminist group Osez Le Feminisme (Dare to be Feminist) is campaigning to have the piece banned from public view.

Osez Le Feminisme have launched a petition asking for the statue be removed from its current location, a war memorial in Normandy. The group claim the statue, and the picture it was inspired by, both portray a sexual assault.

We cannot accept that the Caen Memorial erected a sexual assault as a symbol of peace. We therefore request the removal of this sculpture as soon as possible.

The sailor could have laughed with these women, hugged them, asked them if he could kiss them with joy. No, he chose to grab them with a firm hand to kiss them. It was an assault.

The identities of the nurse and the sailor in Eisenstaedt's photograph have never been officially confirmed, although a book, The Kissing Sailor, says that the girl is Greta Zimmer Friedman who later said in an interview:

It wasn't my choice to be kissed. The guy just came over and grabbed me! I felt that he was very strong. He was just holding me tight. It wasn't a romantic event.

 

 Offsite Article: Everything is Fucked...


Link Here 7th October 2014
evrything is fucked Australian artist Acquitted of Obscenity, but Chill of Censorship Endures

See article from hyperallergic.com

 

  Free Speech Denier...

Rajan Zed has a whinge about artwork featuring a Barbie Kali


Link Here 28th September 2014  full story: Rajan Zed...Taking easy offence at hindu imagery
barbie kali Artists have caused a little 'outrage' by creating a Barbie in the image of the Hindu Goddess Kali.

The two Argentinian artists Marianela Perelli and Pool Paolini have have gotten noticed after previewing pieces from their upcoming exhibition The Plastic Religion , which features Barbie and Ken dolls altered to resemble religious figures such as Jesus and the Virgin Mary.

Rajan Zed, a perennial Hindu whinger and has said:

The Barbie-fication of Kali is simply improper, wrong and out of place, reports The Hindu .

Hindus welcome the art world to immerse in Hinduism but taking it seriously and respectfully and not for refashioning Hinduism concepts and symbols for personal agendas.

Although the artists clearly intended to provoke outrage at their pieces, they commented that they drew the line at creating a Ken version of the Muslim religious character Muhammed.

Free speech denier Zed commented that Hindus strongly believe in free speech ...BUT... claimed that faith is something sacred and attempts at belittling it hurt the devotees .

 

 Commented: Bullies and Slaves...

Barbican censors art exhibit in response to protests


Link Here 26th September 2014
exhibit b brett bailey An art exhibition featuring black actors chained and in cages to depict the horror of slavery has been closed by the Barbican gallery following a vociferous campaign of protest.

Officials from the arts venue decided to end an impasse with demonstrators who on Tuesday evening greeted the opening of Brett Bailey's Exhibit B at the Vaults in south London by blockading both the entrance and the road leading to the building.

Two hundred protesters with drums and placards demonstrated outside, prompting the attendance of officers from both the Metropolitan police and British transport police. The officers were summoned to address reports of a disturbance, but made no arrests. The event was quickly cancelled.

Its censorship was hailed as a victory by campaigners who claimed 20,000 signatures on a protest petition against what they called complicit racism .

In a statement, the Barbican said:

Due to the extreme nature of the protest outside the Vaults, regrettably we have cancelled this evening's performance of Exhibit B as we could not guarantee the safety of performers, audiences and staff. We respect people's right to protest but are disappointed that this was not done in a peaceful way as had been previously promised by campaigners. Further subsequent performances up to and including Saturday 27 have also been cancelled.

Spiked logo Offsite Comment: Censored whilst claiming to be uncensored

26th September 2014. See article from spiked-online.com

It was a sad day for freedom when Brett Bailey's work was shut down by a mob.

...Read the full article

Telegraph logo Offsite Comment: I wanted to make my own mind up about Exhibit B

26th September 2014. See  article from  telegraph.co.uk by Bonnie Greer

I don't want to be stopped from seeing a work of art because someone else decides it's inappropriate , incorrect or racist

...Read the full article

 

  An Organ of State Censorship...

Japanese police censors ban nude photography in art exhibition


Link Here 4th September 2014
ryudai takano Prominent Japanese photographer Ryudai Takano refuses to be cowed even though police ordered the sexual organs in his nude portraits on exhibit at the Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art here be covered up.

Instead of withdrawing the photographs, Takano decided to exhibit the censored portraits as a protest and to show the power of the public to intervene in the arts:

In essence, an art museum exhibits weird things that you cannot see anywhere else. By observing things that are distinctively 'different,' it helps viewers diversify their viewpoints. It is a museum's primary function, and if the administrative authorities interfere with its exhibition without much consideration, it can threaten its raison d'etre.

The large photo panel and 11 smaller portraits by Takano, currently on display at the Photography exhibition, will have had the sexual organs covered by a sheet on order of Aichi prefectural police censors.

In exhibiting the original works, the museum set up a special viewing booth enclosed by curtains and staffed by guards. It also placed a cautionary sign at the entrance that warned that the photographs feature full nudity.

Photographer Takashi Arai, who also is exhibiting his works in the exhibition, started an Internet petition to demand that police withdraw the censorship order and explain its justification. On Sept. 1, he submitted a petition containing the signatures of 8,544 people to the prefectural police.

 

  PC Censors on the Human Zoo...

Recommending Exhibit B by Brett Bailey


Link Here 29th August 2014
exhibit b brett bailey Exhibit B , by artist Brett Bailey, has people chained and caged in a reflection of the human zoos popular in the 19th century, to demonstrate the brutal reality behind colonisation .

Brett, a white man with a wealthy background who grew up in Apartheid South Africa, reckons his piece is thought-provoking. He said:

It is a piece about humanity; about a system of dehumanisation that affects everybody within society, regardless of skin colour, ethnic or cultural background, that scours the humanity from the 'looker' and the 'looked at.'

PC Activists have called for the work to be censored. About 2,500 people have signed a petition calling for it to be banned. Campaigner Zita Holbourne said:

We don't believe that in order to remind people of the horrors of racism, enslavement, apartheid and colonial rule it is necessary to place black people in cages and put them on display in an exhibition and that this exhibition does nothing to promote race equality.

The petition, started by journalist Sara Myers, includes:

We wish to register our utmost disgust at what we consider to be an outrageous act of complicit racism with the Barbican agreeing to the housing and display of this production.

Exhibit B is set to open at The Barbican in London from September 23-27.

 

 Offsite Article: An Age Old Debate...


Link Here 12th August 2014
osservatorio sui diritti dei minori logo A nude sculpture by British artists Jake and Dinos Chapman has been removed from a Rome gallery after complaints from a children's rights group.

See article from bbc.co.uk

 

 Updated: Japan Develops Technology to Print Police Officers...

Artist jailed over 3D printer map of her vagina


Link Here 22nd July 2014
megumi igarashi, A Japanese artist who made figures of Lady Gaga and a kayak modelled on her vagina said she was outraged by her arrest and vowed a court fight against obscenity charges.

Speaking from jail, Megumi Igarashi, said she was challenging a culture of discrimination against discussion of the vagina in Japanese society.

Igarashi, who worked under the alias Rokudenashiko, which means good-for-nothing girl , built a yellow kayak with a top shaped like her vagina after raising about $10,000 through crowdfunding. Igarashi sent 3D printer data of her scanned vagina, the digital basis for her kayak project, as a thanks to a number of donors.

On Saturday, she was arrested for distributing indecent material and faces up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. Igarashi said about 10 police officers arrived at her house and that initially she thought they were only interested in confiscating work she has said is meant as a pop-art exploration of the manko, vulgar Japanese slang for vagina:

I did not expect to get arrested at all. Even as they were confiscating my works, I thought to myself, 'This will be a good story.' Then they handcuffed and arrested me. Now, I just feel outraged.

More than 17,000 people have signed an online petition for Igarashi's immediate release on Change.org.

Update: Released from police custody

22nd July 2014. See article from japantimes.co.jp

An artist arrested for distributing 3-D data of her vagina online urged the public to outgrow the perception that female genitalia are taboo or shameful, after being released from police custody on Friday. Megumi Igarashi said:

I believe this arrest was completely unjust and unreasonable. I have always stuck to my artistic principles, which she said are aimed at toppling the entrenched idea that female genitalia are obscene. The perception verges on sexism.

Igarashi's release Friday means the court acknowledged it was unjust in the first place, said her lead lawyer, Takashi Yamaguchi.

Authorities will likely continue the investigation and try to press charges, but Igarashi said she will stick to her convictions and fight till the end if indicted

 

 Comment: Portrait of Ms Prudery May...

Major London art gallery censors painting featuring pubic hair


Link Here 19th July 2014
portrait-of-ms-ruby-may-s-001 Leena McCall's Portrait of Ms Ruby May, Standing was removed from the Society of Women Artists' 153rd annual exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London after being deemed disgusting and pornographic , according to the artist.

Few things cause more umbrage now than someone wantonly enjoying tobacco. But further investigation revealed it was the way the sitter's short waistcoat and undone breeches framed a luxuriant dark V of pubic hair, not to mention, the Come hither, if you dare! expression on May's face, as she coolly scrutinises the viewer, that seemed to be the problem.

The Mall Galleries have issued the following 'won't somebody think of the children' statement:

As an educational arts charity, the federation has a responsibility to its trustees and to the children and vulnerable adults who use its galleries and learning centre. After a number of complaints regarding the depiction of the subject and taking account of its location en route for children to our learning centre, we requested the painting was removed.

The Society of Women Artists was permitted to replace McCall's work with another less provocative nude: one where the model wasn't tattooed and standing hand-on-hip, all unbuttoned. It seems the Mall Galleries' clientele can cope with nudes, so long as the model is a more passive and unthreatening recipient of the wandering viewer's gaze. Which all seems a desperately outmoded form of prudishness.

McCall is understandably incensed at the censoring of her portrait, as her avowed intention in painting it was to explore, how women choose to express their sexual identity beyond the male gaze . It's an added irony that her work should be removed from an all-female exhibition, curated by women. When I contacted the artist via her website, McCall explained that Ruby May (who leads erotic workshops) had proudly wanted to own the pubic hair that is so often waxed, covered or air-brushed away in contemporary depictions of the female body -- and rarely glimpsed in classical ones, come to that. The painter can't begin to understand how a painting that reveals no intimate flesh, other than the pelvic triangle, could possibly be described as pornography.

Spiked logo Offsite Comment: Pubic hair... now officially offensive

19th July 2014. See  article from  spiked-online.com by Ivor Jones

 

  Smiling Vagina...

Swedish council censors school mural


Link Here 29th May 2014
carolina falkholt A controversial painting that depicts a smiling vagina on a staircase has been allowed to remain at a Swedish high school but will now be censored by a wall.

The artwork by Carolina Falkholt sparked a fierce debate over censorship, after it was announced that the mural would be on display at a junior high school in Nykoping for 13-to 15-year-olds.

Following months of debate over the suitability of the location for the mural, the local council has decided that the picture will be obscured by a wall rather than painting over the mural. Local government representative Eric Carlgren said:

There are many of the opinion that the painting shouldn't be exposed. Now we have solved the problem but the painting is still there.

However, the news has not gone down well with the mural's creator Falkholt who said:

I'm shocked. All the students know what kind of painting is under there.

In January the school's principal, Harke Steenbergen, said he wanted to keep the painting in its original guise and added that he liked its message.

 

  Mutual Support...

Whingers lean on council about supposedly offensive sculpture


Link Here 28th April 2014
mark chatterley The sculptor who created Blue Human Condition , A censored piece featured in the Adrian Art Discovery installation in downtown Adrian, Michegan, says he was surprised and disappointed to learn that there were people who found it offensive. Mark Chatterley told Adrian Today:

I thought it was a pretty normal piece that didn't have any kind of sexual connotations. I really had to work at it to think about how it would offend people. I just didn't get it.

The sculptor shows seven androgynous figures resting on each other in various poses. Chatterley said the vision behind the piece was to portray the way people depend on each other. Chatterley explained:

My initial thought was that we all need each other for support. We can't do it alone and we are a global village, so we are all resting on someone else to survive. That's what this piece is about.

Whingers has complained to the city council that the sculpture was sexually suggestive, and the word orgy was used to describe it.

Update: A Pastor Rants

5th May 2014. See  article from  gaystarnews.com

A US pastor has slammed a contemporary sculpture unveiled last month, claiming it depicts a gay sex orgy even though the figures are sexless. Local pastor Rick Strawcutter uploaded a video to YouTube to vent his anger about such a sculpture being on public display .

In the video, entitled Adrian City Commission Is Leading Us to Sodom , he not only attacks the sculpture, but also attacks the city commission for voting in favour of equal rights for LGBT people, who he says are an abomination. Everyone I know who sees this just feels like it is in itself an abomination he said. Making various references to Sodom and Gomorrah, the Bible and God he also attacked what he called the gay agenda.

Support for the artist and the statue is evident as an online petition sprung up in order to stop the town from censoring or removing the sculpture. However, the sculpture was moved to Yew Park, as it was considered there would be less traffic and pedestrians.

 

 Update: The Modern World Sits in Judgment of Religion...

Transport for London, unsurprisingly prefers not to carry adverts featuring religious satire. And christians do not understand why


Link Here 31st March 2014  full story: Transport for London Censors...Advert censorship
antony micallef kill your idol There is an exhibition at St Marylebone Church of the work of 20 artists' representations of the Stations of the Cross. Throughout Lent, some of these have been approved by TfL to appear on the London Underground.

But not Antony Micallef's Kill Your Idol , a representation of the first station, where Jesus is condemned to death, this time by an X-Factor style panel of judges.

A spokesperson for TfL said the poster was rejected because it did not comply with the firm's advertising policy. She pointed to a clause that concerns causing widespread or serious offence to members of the public and another referring to advertisements that do not comply with the law or incite someone to break the law.

It is the view of St Marylebone's Rector, the Reverend Canon Stephen Evans, that this work raises:

Important contemporary questions about the fickleness and shallowness of fame and celebrity, success and failure. About who has the power to say just who is going to be a 'hit' and who a 'miss'.

It is not an image that could cause offence, it's not obscene; it is just a very, very strange decision.

But of course the decision is nothing to do with nuances of offence. It's just that everybody knows that religion and satire simply do not mix, and anything coming anywhere close is simply best avoided for fear of either violence or else a station load of moaning minnies. It seems that religion these days is not really very welcome in the normal world, it causes far too much trouble in the world.

 

  Naked Repression...

Self-censorship on the rise in Iran's underground art scene


Link Here 12th March 2014
iran underground art

 

 Update: Rue de Censors...

Paris workers censor street art protesting at Hadopi file sharing law


Link Here 16th February 2014  full story: File Sharing in france...Early action against internet file sharing not entirely successful
bloodsuck hadopi City workers in Paris have been instructed to remove political messages from street art this week, including several paintings protesting against local anti-piracy law Hadopi . Among the targets were several creations by Finnish artist Sampsa, who painted dozens of anti-Hadopi statements across the city.

One of the works, which displayed the text The Blood Sucking Hadopi alongside a kid being chased by a giant mosquito. The city workers decided that the text went too far and removed it in its entirety. The rest of the mutilated painting remains in place, although its original message has been completely lost.

The irony of the city's actions is that it has censored an artist who has spoken out against a law that is supposed to protect artists. Needless to say, the move was heavily criticized by many members of the public.

TorrentFreak talked to Sampsa who is disappointed that his work was destroyed, but is also glad for the public support he's received.

Creating street art is simply a tool for activism. I am glad people in France are upset about what happened in Butte aux Cailles -- it shows at least someone is paying attention to certain lines that shouldn't be crossed.

Despite the setbacks Sampsa is not going to stop, on the contrary in fact. The French three-strikes law is about to be transformed into system where alleged file-sharers will receive automatic fines , something the artists is heavily protesting against.

 

  Banning Reality...

Photos of village life censored as tarnishing Uzbekistan's image


Link Here 31st January 2014
neformat Several photographs were removed from an exhibition at the Tashkent House of Photography on January 25 after authorities deemed them as tarnishing the country's image.

The exhibit presented by the Tashkent-based Neformat (The one on the fringe) had already been successfully shown in the Russian city of Uglich, and in the capital of Belarus, Minsk.

It took almost two months for the exhibit organizers to get the artworks approved for showing, including obtaining the authorization from the Art Council chairman Akmal Nur, who eventually gave the green light for the exhibition and all of its photographs.

However an hour before the show was to open Nur ordered two photo series to be removed as well as several captions to be covered up, in a dramatic act of censorship.

It seems likely that the authorities simply did not like their content -- the lives of poor villagers going about their simple daily tasks among very run-down infrastructure. Umida Akhmedova, a prominent photographer explained that it is no longer advisable to document poverty in Uzbekistan.

 

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