The Century Project
Region: North America
Artist: Frank Cordelle
Confronting Bodies: University of North Carolina, Wilmington, Delaware, USA
Dates of Action: March 2009
Location: Warwick Ballroom, University of North Carolina
Description of Artwork: The Century Project "combines unconventionally stunning nude portraits" of women ages 0 to 100 "with highly personal written statements describing instances of rape, debilitating illness, disfiguring surgeries, distorted social expectations, as well as reflections of humor and joy" and is designed to "effect change in societal attitudes towards womens bodies."
The Incident: The University of North Carolina, Wilmington, has removed a substantial part of The Century Project created by photographer Frank Cordelle. After a complaint from an Oklahoma resident who claimed the project "is pornographic and harms women," UNCW requested Cordelle to remove the photographs portraying women under the age of 18.
Results of Incident: A complaint from an associate professor in Oklahoma was sent to colleges where The Century Project was to appear, telling them to reject it. It claimed that The Century Project was pornographic and harmed women. At UNCW, the complaint went to the Chancellor and the Provost. After receiving the complaint, the Provost banned the photos of anyone under 18. UNCW became the only organization to censor the Project in its long history. UPDATE: "[T]he UNCW Faculty Senate passed a motion admonishing the University of North Carolina Wilmington administration for not consulting with the Women's Resource Center, Faculty Senate Steering Committee and other interested parties before requesting the censorship of a large part of the Century Project." In response, Brian Chapman, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at UNCW, resigned.