Sex Show/Cultural Perspectives on Sexuality in Society (exhibition)

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Date: 1983

Region: North America

Subject: Explicit Sexuality Nudity

Medium: Performance Art Film & Video Photography Painting


Artist: Violet Banks and Encarnacion Teruel

Confronting Bodies: Chicago Police

Date of Action: October 13, 1983

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Description of Artwork: Sex Show/Cultural Perspectives on Sexuality in Society involved 88 artists, sponsored by Randolph Street Gallery and Smart Bar, using sex in their artwork whether it was performance or static art.

The Incident: Because of the nature of the show, Violet Banks and Mario Teruel, the curators of the show, informed local police prior to the show's opening to alleviate any disturbances that might arise. The show opened on September 9 and was extended to October 13 when its popularity arose. On the final night of the exhibition, the police were sent to close the show. Alderman Bernie Hanson (whose ward the show was in) called the police after he received a complaint from a citizen. The pretext of "operating sex shows, movies, art shows, and live bands" without an "amusement license" was used by the police to close the show.

Results of Incident: The police who issued the citations failed to show up in court and the violations were dismissed, but incidentally closed the show.

Source: Committee For Artists' Rights Archive