Lee Gordon Photos

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Date: 1984

Region: North America

Subject: Explicit Sexuality Sexual/Gender Orientation

Medium: Photography


Artist: Lee Gordon

Confronting Bodies: Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA)

Dates of Action: 1984

Location: Boston, MA

Description of Artwork: Ten 8x10 sexually explicit paintings from the Friendly Neighbors series depicting gay and lesbian couples

The Incident: Bill Olander (d.1988) of The Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin, included ten 8x10 "sexually explicit" paintings of mine, from the Friendly Neighbors series, for his show Drawing after Photography. It soon evolved that the show was to travel throughout the year, organized by the ICA. When Bill came to my studio to select the specific paintings from the series (aprox. 100) we decided to show some of the very strongest of the images, with several gay and lesbian couplings included. Several weeks before the show was to open, after the work had gone to Oberlin, I got a long apologetic letter from Bill, followed by an even longer telephone call explaining that the board of ICA, upon receipt of the images, flipped. They wanted them out of the exhibition. A flurry of phone calls ensued between myself; Richard Flood--at the time the director of my sort-of gallery Protech-McNeil--; Bill; and the director of the ICA, Susan somebody.

Results of Incident: It was decided that the work would open in Oberlin, and then not travel through the country to other exhibitions, and images of the work were not included in the show catalogue.

Source: Lee Gordon