Cut & Paste: What constitutes censorship in art — and how it affects artists and the community | St. Louis Public Radio

Cut & Paste: What constitutes censorship in art — and how it affects artists and the community

Jan 26, 2017

St. Louis-area artist Fabio Rodriguez was devastated when a very personal piece of his work was removed from an exhibition. But did that action rise to the level of censorship?

The idea of reacting to public outcry against a work of art captured the conversation in St. Louis last fall after community advocates demanded that  the Contemporary Art Museum remove a Kelley Walker exhibition. Since then, two Washington, D.C., incidents with local connections, have kept a spotlight on the subject. One involved an historical painting, the other, the work of a teenage artist removed from a U.S. Capitol hallway.

In our latest Cut & Paste podcast, we explore issues of censorship with Rodriguez and Washington University art history professor Angela Miller.

Here’s some of what you’ll hear in the podcast:

  • Miller, on the definition of censorship: "[When an institution uses its authority] to essentially remove free speech ... and the possibilities for discussion."
  • Rodriguez, on having his piece depicting protesters in the Dominican Republic removed from a traveling exhibition: "It tells me that my people are not important, that I don’t matter; my people don’t matter. And that’s when I take it personal.”
  • Rodriguez, on how a local teen's painting about the African-American community and police was removed from the U.S. Capitol but a controversial work at the Contemporary Art Museum was left up and walled off: "Kelley Walker gets a wall built to protect his artwork. This kid gets it put down four times; what does that show that kid?"

Look for new Cut & Paste (#cutpastestl) podcasts every few weeks on our website. You can also view all previous podcasts focusing on a diverse collection of visual and performing artists, and subscribe to Cut & Paste through this link.

The show is sponsored by SPACE Architecture + Design

Follow Willis and Nancy on Twitter: @WillisRArnold and @NancyFowlerSTL

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