The Abuse (painting)
Region: North America
Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion
Artist: Guy Colwell
Confronting Bodies: Gallery viewers
Dates of Action: May, 2004
Location: San Francisco, California
Description of Artwork: Colwell's The Abuse depicts scenes from photographs of prison abuse in U.S. occupied Iraq at Abu Ghriab prison that led to an investigation into U.S. interrogation practices. The painting shows nude, hooded men connected to wires standing atop platforms. The painting is black and white except for an American flag on a soldier's uniform.
The Incident: Lori Haigh, the Copobianco Gallery's owner, temporarily closed her doors after recieving hateful and threatening phone calls in response to the The Abuse, which hung in the gallery's front window. Haigh removed the painting from view for safety, as advised by San Francisco police. She has been called "un-American" and was spat at by an angry viewer while she worked. One reporter suggested that the painting be burned.
Results of Incident: Haigh decided to close the gallery temporarily, and may close for good, because she fears for her family's safety. Activists and friends have gathered to support her and encourage her to reopen the Copobianco. Colwell has decided to keep the piece for himself.
Source: Mercury News