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Region: North America
Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion
Artist: Jonathan Allen
Confronting Bodies: Jeffery Rosenstock, Producing Director of the Queens Theater in the Park
Date of Action: January 26, 2001
Location: The lounge of the Queens Theater in the Park, New York
Description of Artwork: Four portraits of George W. Bush covered by glass with drawings of women's shoes. This piece suggests that President Bush is no more than a product (hence the shoes), and a corporate commodity.
The Incident: Allen's piece, W2001 W2002 W2003 W2004, was scheduled to hang for approximately one month in the New Inside Spoon exhibition at the Queens Theater in the Park. However, after a week, Producing Director Jeffrey Rosenstock removed the work.
Results of Incident: Rosenstock defended his action, claiming it was not censorship. However, he chose to keep Allen's second piece in the show even though he thought it more provocative. It seemed to him that it had a clear message, unlike the more ambiguous W2001 W2002 W2003 W2004. Allen withdrew his other piece, believing he had been the target of censorship. The theater recognized its action as a mistake and in effort to rectify the incident, Rosenstock invited Allen to do a new show. In September 2001 Allen is scheduled to exhibit both the original pieces as well as new ones that investigate issues of freedom of speech and censorship.
Source: NCAC, A Case of Censorship at Queens Theater in the Park, Greg Fuchs