Panel Discusses Censorship in the Museum Hosted by Carpenter Performing Arts Center

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Banned, Blacklisted and Boycotted: Censorship in the MuseumThe Carpenter Performing Arts Center at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) will host “Censorship in the Museum,” a free panel discussion focusing on current controversies surrounding art and censorship in museum exhibitions, on Wednesday, Nov. 30, beginning at 5 p.m.

The event is part of “Banned, Blacklisted and Boycotted: Censorship and the Response to It” (also known as “The B-Word Project”)—a campus-wide program exploring all aspects of censorship.  The project is coordinated by the Carpenter Performing Arts Center and funded by the Association of Performing Arts Presenters and the Doris Duke Charitable Fund.

In 1989, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., canceled the Robert Mapplethorpe exhibit called “The Perfect Moment” because it did not want to adversely affect congressional funding for the National Endowment for the Arts.  Instead of defusing the controversy, however, the censoring of the show sparked a national debate over public funding for the arts, the question of how to define obscenity and who gets to decide, and whether censorship is acceptable. 

A decade later, in 2010, the Smithsonian removed a work by David Wojnarowicz from the “Hide/Seek” exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery due to conservative pressure.  Is this a new wave of the Culture Wars that characterized the controversies surrounding censorship in the 1990s, or have the Culture Wars been continuing all along?  What is the state of art censorship today and its implications for artists, curators and the public at large?

Censorship in the Museum Panel

Moderated by Chris Scoates, director of the CSULB University Art Museum, the panel discussion will include three speakers, each of whom has a strong stake in these issues and has been outspoken on the subject.  Among the speakers will be:

  • Andrea Fraser is professor of new genres in UCLA’s Department of Art.  Her artwork spans performance, video, context art and institutional critique, and she has done major projects all over the world.  “Museum Highlights: The Writings of Andrea Fraser” was published by MIT Press in 2005.  She is also the author of “A ‘Sensation’ Chronicle” about the controversies of 1999 when New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani attacked the Brooklyn Museum for its plan to present “Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection.”
  • Jonathan Katz is chair of the Visual Studies Doctoral Program at SUNY Buffalo and curator of “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture” at the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.  The first major LGBT art exhibition in U.S. history, “Hide/Seek” was both critically acclaimed and at the center of a censorship controversy that stirred up much critical response, which has been chronicled on the Internet and on Facebook.
  • Richard Meyer, an associate professor of art history at USC, has written extensively on censorship and the public sphere, giving special emphasis to “the ongoing cultural debate over sexuality and gender and its effects upon modern art and visual culture.”  Meyer is the author of the award-winning book, “Outlaw Representation: Censorship and Homosexuality in Twentieth-Century American Art.”



Co-sponsored by the CSULB Department of Art Visiting Artist Lecture Series as well as The B-Word Project, “Censorship in the Museum” is free and open to the public.  The Carpenter Performing Arts Center is located at 6200 Atherton Street.  Convenient parking is located directly in front of the Carpenter Center entrance for $5.

For more information on the panel discussion, contact Beto Gonzalez, B-Word project coordinator, at 562/985-7007 or e-mail him at  More information is also available on The B-Word Project at


One Response to “Panel Discusses Censorship in the Museum Hosted by Carpenter Performing Arts Center”
  1. david ward says:

    The title is Hide/Seek. Difference and Desire in American Portraiture (your subtitle is wrong). I’m the co-curator with Jonathan Katz