El Paso Mall Management Demands Removal of Works From an Exhibit
Region: North America
Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion
Artist: Diana Zamora and John Rust
Confronting Bodies: Simon Property Group
Date of Action: Late June, 2008
Location: El Paso, Texas, United States of America
Description of Artwork: Series of sociopolitical satire paintings by the two artists: one depicted a woman seductively placing the muzzle of a gun into another woman's mouth, another portrayed the iconic 'Welcome to Las Vegas' sign as reading "Welcome to Iraq" and dripping with blood.
The Incident: The artists agreed to display their works in an exhibit called "00 Zealot," to be shown in a clothing store located in Sunland Park Mall. Ten days after the exhibit opened, mall management demanded that Zamora and Rust remove their paintings because the mall received complaints from customers that the paintings were "offensive." There was no written contract, but a verbal agreement between the artists, the store owner and mall management.
Results of Incident: All parties agree that the art is good. However, mall mangement has said it takes the complaints of customers very seriously and the decision to remove the works stands. The artists' First Amendment rights have not been violated, because the mall is private property. So, the owners retain the right to decide what is displayed there.
Source: "What's Up: Free Entertainment Weekly for El Paso Juarez Las Cruces" http://www.whatsuppub.com/showArticle.asp?articleId=5828