Whitewash (exhibition)

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Date: 1991

Region: North America

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Public Art,Exhibition


Artist: Hugo Sanchez and various artists involved with Border Art.

Confronting Bodies: Radio commentator Roger Hedgecock

Dates of Action: 1991

Location: San Diego, California

Description of Artwork: Border Art Workshop organized an exhibit entitled Whitewash confronting cultural and political injustices visited upon by minorities. Hugo Sanchez's mural installation, New World Dis-Order, which contained a large, warped flag painted on the floor and walls, substituting swastikas for stars.

The Incident: Local radio talk show host (and former mayor) Roger Hedgecock touched off a flood of complaints when he attacked an exhibit entitled Whitewashed on the grounds that it defamed American culture. The San Diego collective Border Art Workshop/Taller de Arte Fronterizo organized the interdisciplinary exhibit at the Centro Cultural De La Raza. The Centro began receiving calls a few days after the exhibition went up, most objecting to Hugo Sanchez's mural installation. One caller threatened to throw paint on the walls. The mayor's office received frequent phone calls as well, evidently spurred by Hedgecock's broadcast. Hedgecock described Sanchez's piece as offensive to veterans, noting that his father served in WWII. He also assailed the California Special Projects program of the Commission for the Arts for funding the work.

Results of Incident: The Centro stood by the exhibit, saying that the institution works " to support and promote public discourse and dialogue on Mexican, Chicano, and Native American art and culture... The Centro believes in letting the public decide for themselves."

Source: People for the American Way