A few months ago my friend, Doug Minkler, asked me if I would be interested in exhibiting him and another artist in Berkeley’s Addison Street Windows. I was excited about having an opportunity to show my work in Berkeley since I had lived there and had never exhibited anywhere other than at UC.
What followed ended up being my first experience with censorship of my work. We were told by the curator that we could show work but that certain “proscriptions would apply”. According to her:
As this is a public art space where the work is viewed from the sidewalk 24 hours a day to wide audience including young children, we do not show explicit sex or violence or guns – that is deadly weapons, i.e. as seen in your victory to the intifada poster, and the woman with the machine gun bullets crossed over her chest. Those images would not be included.
Here are the images she is referring to:
Doug and I fought the good fight and took our concerns about these unpublished “proscriptions” that were supposed to abide by to the Berkeley Arts Council. We requested transparency and never received any clear answers, only an invitation to help the council create a clearer censorship policy. We lost the show and never got any answers.
It turns out we are one group of many who have been censored, so we are taking collective action with our good friends at the Art of Democracy. We decided to take collective action and call attention to the City of Berkeley’s hypocrisy.
Check out their call to the public below:
“Addison Street Windows Gallery, a consistent pattern of censorship
Alternative Opening Event Saturday, November 8, 2008
Four posters from a national series of exhibitions called Art of Democracy have been censored in Berkeley at the city-run Addison Street Windows Gallery.
There are three ways you can help.
1. Forward this email to everyone you know who cares about free speech.
2. Come to the Art of Democracy exhibit, at Pueblo Nuevo Gallery, 1828 San Pablo Ave. Berkeley, to see the censored art in the home of Free Speech.
Saturday, November 8, 2008, 4 pm – 11 pm.
3. Write an email to the Berkeley City Council members listed below and
let them know how important censorship in the arts is to you! Sample letter below.
Mayor Tom Bates, email@example.com (510) 981-7100
District 1 Linda Maio, firstname.lastname@example.org (510) 981-7110
District 2 Darryl Moore, email@example.com (510) 981-7120
District 3 Max Anderson, firstname.lastname@example.org (510) 981-7130
District 4 Vacant
District 5 Laurie Capitelli, email@example.com (510) 981-7150
District 6 Betty Olds, firstname.lastname@example.org (510) 981-7160
District 7 Kriss Worthington, email@example.com (510) 981-7170
District 8 Gordon Wozniak, firstname.lastname@example.org (510) 981-7180
The Mayor and all Council members may be reached by mail at:
2180 Milvia Street, Berkeley, CA 94704
I am outraged by the hypocrisy of the City of Berkeley building monuments to free speech while limiting it so harshly in the Addison Street Windows Gallery. The fact that artwork is being censored in Berkeley in an exhibit that is taking place all over the country and was censored nowhere else is shocking.”
Come and join us at Pueblo Nuevo Gallery to see the censored art in the home of Free Speech.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
4 pm – 11 pm
Live screen printing, music, street side display of the censored art, and a gallery full of uncensored art.
Pueblo Nuevo Gallery
1828 San Pablo Avenue, suite 1,
one block north of University Avenue in Berkeley
Open Friday through Monday 12 – 5
Or call for appointment 510 452-7363
November 8 – November 30, 2008