Bush, Cheney Collages Banned

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Date: 2007

Region: North America

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Painting


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Artist: Artist G. Bud Swenson (b. 1947)

Confronting Bodies: The Kennebunk Free Library, the town of Kennebunkport, Maine

Dates of Action: November 6th, 2007

Location: The town of Kennebunkport, Maine

Description of Artwork: The artworks were made from discarded American flags and features some flag symbolism. The two collages in question include one of President George W. Bush and the other of Vice President Dick Cheney.

Swenson2.jpg

The Incident: Swenson was holding an exhibit titled Portraits in a Time of War at the Kennebunk Free Library. The exhibit includes 22 collages made from old American flags that Swenson purchased at flea markets. Four days into his show, he received a call from Janet Cate, the Library Director, asking him to remove two of his collages, one of President George W. Bush and the other of Vice President Dick Cheney. He suggested Cate instead turn the portraits toward the wall. She refused and told him the portraits would be removed. Swenson drove down to the library later and retrieved the portraits, which he said had been put in a storeroom. Cate said the two pieces of art were excessively inflammatory and crossed the bounds of acceptable community standards. She felt that the collages were not appropriate . . . for the community because of the Bush familys connection with the area, and noted that they had been the subject of complaints from the public. "This is Mr. Bush's hometown," Cate said, referring to the Bush summer home on Walkers Point in Kennebunkport.

Results of Incident: The collages were removed, and two blank spots remained where the Bush and Cheney collages once hung.

Source: Seacoast Online, Portland Press Herald (Maine)