Rhode Island Student's Drawings Removed from Display

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Date: 1995

Region: North America

Subject: Nudity

Medium: Design


Artist: Andrew Mastrocinque

Confronting Bodies: Portsmouth High School Principal

Date of Action: 1995

Location: Portsmouth, Rhode Island, USA

Description of Artwork: Mastrocinque's charcoal drawings emphasized the human form, featuring male and female nudes.

The Incident: Portsmouth High School art teacher, Marilyn Carpenter, chose Mastrocinque for the school's artist of the month and hung five of his drawings in a glass case near the school library. Within hours of their display, the school principal, John Lucas, removed the drawings. Several students protested, hanging signs that read, "Censorship is a disease," and "Art should not be censored." In addition, Carpenter contacted her union claiming a breach of academic freedom.

Results of Incident: The school superintendent promised that there would be no further interference with future exhibits. Carpenter withdrew the grievance and the works were reinstalled in her classroom.

Source: Artistic Freedom Under Attack, 1996