Region: North America
Medium: Painting, Performance Art, Music
Artist: Alex Donis
Confronting Bodies: Los Angeles City Cultural Affairs Department (LACCAD)
Dates of Action: September 2001
Location: Watts Towers Art Center, Los Angeles, California, USA
Description of Artwork: The show comprised of a painting series of fictionalized pairings of LAPD officers and gang members in same-sex dancing poses. These were accompanied by music, a mix of 70’s disco, police sirens, campy bantering between gang members and their arresting officers, and a voice-over of Keith Antar Mason’s poem, which is also transcribed onto the actual walls of the galleries.
The Incident: The Watts Community Action Council, a locally based community group, led the charge against the exhibition. Representatives of the group threatened an angry protest during the opening reception and stated that violent actions might occur, such as angry residents attacking the artwork itself or perhaps the individuals. The Los Angeles City Cultural Affairs Department and the Art Center administration canceled the show.
Results of Incident: "I am outraged and equally saddened," said Alex Donis. "This exhibition is site-specific. I am not taunting or unjustly ridiculing anyone." The case received high publicity in the media and the exhibition reopened at the Frumkin/Duval Gallery in Santa Monica, CA where it was re-titled War: The Last Dance Reinstated.