I was going to continue with the Apple Series for the unveiling of today’s painting but …there’s an outrageous assault on artistic expression raging on Facebook as I write so I’m switching gears a bit.
Last night John O’Hern posted this photo on Facebook which is the announcement for his latest Re-Presenting the Nude show at Evoke Gallery in Santa Fe.
Within minutes of his posting… facebook removed the image from his page. Yes, that’s right…censored. A few of us were able to repost it on our FB pages and the Evoke Gallery responded by posting the individual images of the paintings up on their website starting last night. I just got word from John that the Evoke Gallery has now been blocked from posting for 24 hrs.
Below is John’s posted response to the initial censoring on his page…
It amazes me that an organization like Facebook, begun by people of obvious intelligence and sophistication, should hire creatures who have only recently slithered onto the shore to control its department of censorship. I’m grateful for the many “Likes” and good wishes posted in support of the artists in my exhibition “Re-presenting the Nude II” before the announcement (with pictures!) was removed… from my profile page. The Roman poet Juvenal wrote in his Satires: “Quis Custodiet ipsos custodies?” (“Who will guard the guards themselves?”) It’s a question that is as true today as it was then. Who knows what Neanderthal censors might have ordered their artist kin to scrape off the wall? When more secure people occupied the ranks of those directing our society, the historian Henry Steele Commager wrote: “Censorship always defeats it own purpose, for it creates in the end the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion.” Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart wrote: “Censorship reflects a society’s lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime.” More chillingly, the African American scholar Henry Louis Gates wrote: “Censorship is to art as lynching is to justice.” I’ll give the last word to someone who knew the subject well, the buxom bombshell Mae West, who said: “I believe in censorship. I made a fortune out of it.” May all Facebook-censored artists do so as well. (And the curators.)
The original reason I signed up for Facebook was to keep track of the fast paced thoughts and lives of our grandchildren. It has become a valuable resource for connecting me to friends, family, and ideas and is an integral part in promoting my artwork and keeping in touch with patrons and introducing me to new artists and their work. Frankly I’m shocked that their “censors” have decided that any of these artistic representations of the human figure are too risky for us to lay eyes upon…when they so freely allow the children to post obscene and offensive language defining the explicit parts and usage of those parts of that same human figure.
So… my response to the environment of repression, discrimination and censorship in this year of political discord… is this…