New Inside Spoon (exhibition)

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Date: 2001

Region: North America

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Mixed Media


Artist: Jonathan Allen

Confronting Bodies: Jeffrey Rosenstock, producing director of Queens Theatre in the Park.

Dates of Action: January, 2001

Location: Queens Theatre in the Park, New York, NY

Description of Artwork: Together with Guillermo Creus, Jonathan Allen has exhibited his drawings in New Inside Spoon exhibition at Queens Theatre in the Park. This group consists of portraits of President Bush covered by drawings on glass of women’s shoes. Allen explained, “I wanted to show how these candidates are just products. That’s why I juxtaposed portraits of the presidential candidates with corporate logos and shoes. The shoes represent product, fashion and advertising, which is what I think the candidates are. The corporate logos were selected to show which companies support a particular candidate.” Thus Allen’s work was intended to comment on fiscal concerns of the Queens Theatre and on funding for government agencies and art in general.

The Incident: A week after the opening, Allen’s piece depicting President Bush was removed by Jeffrey Rosenstock, producing director of the theater, who claimed that “It wasn’t work that was worthy of all the other programs going on in the theater. The artwork should reflect the caliber of what’s on the stage.” His primary fear was that the general theater audience would be offended because they would be subjected to Allen’s controversial and ambiguous art when they just intend to spend a night at the theater.

Results of Incident: Despite the fact that one drawing depicting the most recent U.S. presidential election was allowed to remain in the exhibition, Jonathan Allen removed it and withdrew from the show. However, due to the First Ammendment he was given the right to have another show at the same venue.

Source: www.clamormagazine.org, NCAC