Censorship, and why “fuck” is only OK in some places
First of all, I am speaking as Daryl-Ann Dartt Hurst, artist and photographer. I have affiliations, boards that I serve on, etc. I am speaking for none of them-I am speaking for me here. So, please let none of these opinions fall back on any of those relationships.
The idea of censorship as a topic actually crossed my desk last week in an article that ran in the Washington Post online that dealt with Facebook. Let’s start here.
This is art, fine art, art that has been revered for more than a century. Art that is academically accepted. Museum art. Art that changed ways that we think about…art. And, what can be exhibited. What is acceptable. As nauseum.
Facebook censored this image, claiming that it was not acceptable for “grandma”. OK. Is grandma reading every site posting art? Out of the zillion sites, is every one being visited by “grandma”? I have to tell you, I did a bit of a “stalk” on a few of a friend’s site (don’t we all-but I was looking at art), and there was outright huge pornography on one. Huge-no questions-a penis in the vagina type.
So, I am confused as to who determines what is acceptable on Facebook.
The local issue is less of who, but more about why.
Beth Wittenberg recently was asked by the Rochester Museum of Fine Art to be the first to display in a venue in downtown Rochester, New Hampshire. The storefront on Main Street, that used to be Carney Medical’s has been given over to the museum for temporary displays, known as “pop ups”.
Now, I’ll give you a little background on the museum. It is a total voluntary operation. We have little financial support-and yes, I did switch “person”, because I am on the Curatorial Board. We are basically a self-governed concern except when it comes to our displays. We use any decent space given to us, and the Carney space availed itself to something new. The libraries, Community Center and Town Hall have set parameters regarding nudity, violence, profanity, etc.
Because the Carney space is new for us, the decision was to relax the restrictions. This turned out to not be what that concern was comfortable with, so we were asked to pull the offending work.
The result has been a railing by the presenting artist, as well as other artists in the area, against the museum.
So, here we are. A museum with no owned real estate, trying to present what we can, and pushing as many envelops as we can too. In this case, we went a bit too far. So, here’s the why. Because we don’t own it, we have to bow to the owners.
The blame of censorship needs to go elsewhere, in this case, as well as the cry that the museum should not have pulled this show.
I, as an artist, hate this. I want to say what the fuck I want and when the fuck I want to say it. And HOWEVER the fuck I need to do that. But, the museum has to do this-because, again, this is borrowed real estate.
And, as the Show Coordinator of the Berwick Art Association, every time I hang one of our shows in a local library or school, you best believe, there will be no “fuck” in any of the pieces I hang. Again, not my choice if it were my walls, but they are family walls. As a rep of the BAA…”fuck” ain’t OK here, either.