Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Censorship

My local guild has an exhibit of quilts traveling around the state, stopping at various venues for varying lengths of time, until next spring 2017. We've had a huge variety of slices of life depicted without a problem. This year, at the current venue, the quilt I made was removed from the display. Here is my quilt:


(The words on the front say "Her last day of school.") I made it to express my sorrow at gun violence, especially towards children.

Without any discussion, it was removed from the current venue; it has essentially been censored. I realize it's not an easy quilt to look at, but... it came from my heart and expresses my horror. Art isn't supposed to always be cute and happy. If it is thought-provoking, that's a good thing, in my mind.

So I was interested in this blog post regarding quilt censorship. A quilt was pulled from an AQS show, because someone thought she saw a penis in the quilt (there isn't one). Is nudity now (suddenly) not allowed in art work? Here's a link to the other blog post by Tanya Brown:
http://www.tanyabrown.org/blog/?p=3486

(Hmm... it isn't linking. I'm not sure why. You may have to copy and paste to your browser to go see the post.)
A friend of mine said she thinks that especially when it comes to quilts, people expect them to be pretty and happy, whereas other art media have more leeway in what they depict. What do you think?

2 comments:

tanyabrownart said...

I think your friend makes a good point. I think that when people hear the word quilt, it comes with certain connotations including decorative, bed covering, cheerful, happy, and even innocuous.

I don’t think that the fiber arts are taken as seriously as a medium as, say, watercolor or photography. One can speculate about why that is, including the fact that quilting is traditional a medium practiced by women in this country. However, I’m half-asleep and I’m having trouble forming thoughts, so I won’t go there right now.

The important thing is that you made a wonderful piece. It carries an valuable message and it shouldn’t have been pulled. If people are uncomfortable thinking about children being killed with guns, perhaps we as a society should do something about the fact that they’re being killed, and not target someone who’s expressing her sorrow.

Shame on the people who pulled your work. I’m hearing story after story like this, and it’s sickening.

knitnkwilt said...

How disappointing to have your quilt censored! It is an important message as well as an attractive quilt.

I can't even see it as controversial (and even if it were, I think it should still have been shown).

Is it a group you would expect to be "pretty, pretty"? That seems to me to be lessening its hold on the quilt world with the modern quilt movement.

My memory is hazy, but I think there was a time those in the fine art world had to fight for art that wasn't "pretty" because it showed ugly truths.