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Lesson Plans


Re:post tragedy censorship

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Betty Bowen (bbowen.ok.us)
Thu, 22 Apr 1999 12:31:49 -0500


Bob, we had post-traumatic censorship hysteria in OK after the bombing, too.
It's ugly, it helps nothing, everything you wrote is perfectly
understandable to me, and I think you took the best action available to you.
My statewide contemporary arts organization responded much the same as you.
They either show everything, or nothing. In one case at a biennial exhibit
shortly after the bombing, that was not possible. (long story) The
resolution was to put walls around the piece with Warning signs. Disgusting
for all concerned, except the hysterical institution. I was at the meeting
when the issue was resolved. The artist was right when he said something
like, (with his head in his hands) "its not that strong a piece! putting
walls and warning signs around it will set up all these expectations for a
really powerful emotional piece it was never intended to be." The
organization no longer exhibits at that gallery. The piece, by the way, was
not about the bombing at all, and they didn't censor a chair made from a
coffin - when you sat in it, you were sitting up in a coffin. With so many
people having died sitting at their desks, I'd assumed that was the piece in
question, but it wasn't - a good lesson to me that there is not always any
actual thought behind censorship.

My guess is your administrators have a pretty short attention span and will
have moved on to another hot topic pretty soon.

Betty