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{{Display censorship incident
 
{{Display censorship incident
 
|ongoing=no
 
|ongoing=no
|year=2016
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|year=2015
 
|region=North America
 
|region=North America
|artist=Rigo 23,
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|artist=Roopa Vasudevan and Atif Ateeq ("Hands Up" installation),
 
|subject=Political/Economic/Social Opinion
 
|subject=Political/Economic/Social Opinion
|confronting_bodies=Katzen Arts Center, American University Museum, Federal Bureau of Investigation Agents Association
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|confronting_bodies=Flux Factory, NYPD Patrolmen's Benevolent Association
|medium=Public Art, Sculpture
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|medium=Electronic Media, Installation, Mixed Media
|date_of_action=January 3, 2017
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|date_of_action=May 2015
|location=Washington, DC
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|location=Flux Factory, Long Island City (Queens), NY
|description_of_content=The statue of Leonard Peltier, created by Los Angeles-based Portuguese artist Rigo 23, is based on a self-portrait of American Indian Movement activist and long-term prisoner Leonard Peltier. It was created to raise awareness of Peltier's Native American activism, artistry, and his 41 years in prison. The statue is of polychromed redwood and steel, and stands nine feet tall on a base measuring six feet by nine feet, modeled to match the dimensions of a standard prison cell.
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|description_of_content=HANDS UP is an interactive installation that explores law enforcement’s relationship with people of color. The installation simulates the experience of being confronted by the police in the manner that resulted in the 2014 shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager, in Ferguson, MO. The piece directly places visitors in the chaotic and overwhelming moments that have since led to an ongoing debate about the state of race relations in America. Video plays on loop of Freddie Gray’s arrest in Baltimore, and police shootings of Walter Scott in South Carolina and Michael Brown in Ferguson. The installation is meant to be experienced alone.  
|description_of_incident=The sculpture was installed December 9, 2016 in front of the American University's Katzen Arts Center and scheduled to remain through April 30, 2017. However, soon after, articles appeared in conservative news outlets criticizing American University for what they believed to be its support of a cop killer. Seeking to clarify that this was not
+
the case, AU issued disclaimers. Then, on December 29, AU received a letter from the Federal Bureau of Investigation Agents Association that accused the University of making a political statement advocating for clemency for Peltier while presenting a one-sided version of his story. They called for the immediate removal of the sculpture. Shortly after, on January 3, the sculpture was dismantled and removed.
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|description_of_result=In a public statement, AU justified the sculpture’s removal on the grounds that the nature of the work and its prominent placement “suggested the University has assumed an advocacy position of clemency for Mr. Peltier, when no such institutional position has been taken.” AU also cites safety concerns based on credible threats to the integrity of the artwork. On February 16, 2017, NCAC sent a letter to the director of the Katzen Center, pointing out that the Katzen Center has successfully presented difficult and controversial subjects in the past, and that by removing the Peltier sculpture it undermined its commitment to academic freedom and its support of “human rights, social justice, and political engagement,” setting a bad precedent for exhibiting political artworks in the future. In its letter, NCAC invoked the 1990 Wolf Trap statement https://ncac.org/resource/1990-wolf-trap-conference-on-academic-freedom-artistic-expression-statement on artistic freedom on campus, endorsed by the American Association of University Professors, the American Council on Education, and the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, among others, makes clear that academic institutions are not responsible for—and hence do not necessarily endorse—the views or attitudes expressed in specific artistic works they display any more than they would be for the content of other instruction, publication, or invited speeches. The statement also affirms that artistic expression merits the same assurance of academic freedom that is accorded to other scholarly and teaching activities.
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In its letter, NCAC strongly urged the American University Museum and the Katzen Arts Center to implement clear policies to help avoid future controversies and fumbles in its curatorial decisions. In August, NCAC assisted the American University Museum draft a new set of policies and procedures for handling controversy.
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From the website: "One at a time, a viewer walks behind a curtain into a room containing a large wall of flashing red and blue lights. They hear the sounds of sirens and the voices of police telling them to put their hands up. Once they comply and their hands are in the air, a gunshot is heard, several blinding strobe flashes are triggered, and the noises disappear. The viewer is shaken by the sudden light and noise, and left in a chilling void of silence as they exit the space."
 
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|description_of_incident=Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (the NYPD police union), told the Daily News: “This so-called ‘art project’ is based upon a lie and perpetuates a falsehood about police officers and their use of force. If art is supposed to enlighten and uplift, this piece of crap doesn’t qualify.” Lynch told PIX11 that he had not seen the installation, but he had heard about it.
In February 2018, Rigo 23’s sculpture found a temporary home at The Main Museum in downtown Los Angeles, remaining on view through May 13th.
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|description_of_result=After being harassed, Flux Factory closed the space to the public for the remainder of the exhibition and visits to the installation could be made by appointment only. ('Hands Up' was scheduled to be on display at Flux Factory from May 15–19, 2015).
|image=Rigo-sculpture of Peltier.jpg
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|image=Roopa Vasudevan hands-up1.jpg
 +
|source=https://rouxpz.com/hands-up
 
}}
 
}}
[http://ncac.org/blog/ncac-responds-to-american-university-museums-removal-of-controversial-sculpture NCAC Responds to American University Museum’s Removal of Controversial Sculpture],JANUARY 30, 2017
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HANDS UP: https://rouxpz.com/hands-up
 
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[http://www.lamag.com/culturefiles/leonard-peltier-main-museum/ A Censored Sculpture of Imprisoned Native American Activist Leonard Peltier Has Taken Up Residence in L.A. - Rigo 23’s controversial work has found a temporary home at the Main Museum downtown], February 27, 2018
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[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statue_of_Leonard_Peltier Statue of Leonard Peltier], (Wikipedia)
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[http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/arts/blog/20848004/after-threats-and-criticism-from-the-fbi-american-university-takes-down-controversial-statue Artist Questions Freedom of Speech After American University Takes Down His Statue - Artist Rigo 23's controversial statue of Leonard Peltier has drawn threats to the campus and criticism from the FBI.], MATT COHEN  JAN 4, 2017 4 PM
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[https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2017/01/04/anger-at-a-cop-killer-a-plea-for-clemency-and-a-fight-over-free-expression-at-au/?utm_term=.740fe15423af  Anger at a cop killer, a plea for clemency, and a fight over free expression at American U.], By Susan Svrluga, Jan. 4, 2017
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[https://www.democracynow.org/2017/1/4/american_university_removes_leonard_peltier_statue American University Removes Leonard Peltier Statue After FBI Letter Amid Urgent Push for Clemency]
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[http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Controversial-Statue-of-Convicted-FBI-Agent-Killer-Removed-From-American-University-Campus-409594185.html Controversial Statue of Convicted FBI Agent Killer Removed From American University Campus; FBI Agents Association asked school to take statue down], By Aimee Cho, NBC, January 3, 2017
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[http://www.justiceonline.org/pcjf_challenges_american_university_s_removal_of_peltier_statue PCJF challenges American University's removal of Peltier statue]
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[https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2017/01/03/american-u-will-remove-statue-leonard-peltier American U Will Remove Statue of Leonard Peltier], By Scott Jaschik
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[https://www.indiawest.com/entertainment/global/indian-american-explores-police-gun-battle-deaths-through-digital-art/article_7a6c0bd8-0dff-11e5-bc8a-6f1f0f4b78c5.html Indian American Explores Police Gun Battle Deaths through Digital Art, Jun 8, 2015]
  
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[https://hyperallergic.com/208206/crimes-of-the-art-13/ Crimes of the Art, Benjamin Sutton May 19, 2015]
  
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[https://pix11.com/2015/05/18/police-union-slams-hands-up-art-exhibit-in-queens/ Police union slams ‘Hands Up’ art exhibit in Queens, MAY 18, 2015]
  
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[http://player.ooyala.com/static/v4/stable/4.16.8/skin-plugin/iframe.html?ec=51Yng1dToZFIAZmKwnQ9BZO8_s2y6o9W&pbid=9ae34776f76145da969becdeb205e6a5&pcode=hpOTQyOnmbX84Mb9rpsdJwTfN9uo&fbclid=IwAR3WdCOB20CXXBhu5PVxUIoN4NqMLaQqrzmgHJDbYzIapmi4uNkJy_wwx8o Video interview (PIX11)]
  
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[https://news.artnet.com/exhibitions/hands-flux-factory-installation-simulates-police-shooting-299454 Hands Up: Flux Factory Installation Simulates Police Shooting, by Cait Munro, May 18, 2015]
  
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[https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/queens/nypd-union-slams-hands-art-installation-queens-article-1.2225266 NYPD union slams 'Hands Up' art installation in Queens, By THOMAS TRACY and ANDY MAI. NEW YORK DAILY NEWS MAY 17, 2015]
  
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[https://www.metro.us/new-york/controversial-queens-exhibit-simulates-police-shooting/zsJoeq---5RWYYzZsbHvK6 Controversial Queens exhibit simulates police shooting, By Nidhi Prakash, May 17, 2015]
  
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[https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-newyork-handsup/new-york-exhibit-taps-into-dialogue-on-race-and-policing-idUSKBN0NZ27G20150515 New York exhibit taps into dialogue on race and policing, by Alice Popovici MAY 15, 2015]
  
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[https://www.instagram.com/p/2uRWQrrXah/?utm_source=ig_embed Flux Factory Instagram post, May 15, 2015: Hands Up]
  
  
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[http://www.fluxfactory.org/events-old/hands-up/ HANDS UP, a project by Atif Ateeq and Roopa Vasudevan / Opening Reception Friday May 15th, 7 – 10pm / On view May 15th-19th, 2015]
  
  

Latest revision as of 10:12, 7 November 2019

Featured Case



Roopa Vasudevan hands-up1.jpg

Artist: Roopa Vasudevan and Atif Ateeq ("Hands Up" installation)

Year: 2015

Date of Action: May 2015

Region: North America

Location: Flux Factory, Long Island City (Queens), NY

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Electronic Media, Installation, Mixed Media

Confronting Bodies: Flux Factory, NYPD Patrolmen's Benevolent Association

Description of Artwork: HANDS UP is an interactive installation that explores law enforcement’s relationship with people of color. The installation simulates the experience of being confronted by the police in the manner that resulted in the 2014 shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager, in Ferguson, MO. The piece directly places visitors in the chaotic and overwhelming moments that have since led to an ongoing debate about the state of race relations in America. Video plays on loop of Freddie Gray’s arrest in Baltimore, and police shootings of Walter Scott in South Carolina and Michael Brown in Ferguson. The installation is meant to be experienced alone.

From the website: "One at a time, a viewer walks behind a curtain into a room containing a large wall of flashing red and blue lights. They hear the sounds of sirens and the voices of police telling them to put their hands up. Once they comply and their hands are in the air, a gunshot is heard, several blinding strobe flashes are triggered, and the noises disappear. The viewer is shaken by the sudden light and noise, and left in a chilling void of silence as they exit the space."

The Incident: Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (the NYPD police union), told the Daily News: “This so-called ‘art project’ is based upon a lie and perpetuates a falsehood about police officers and their use of force. If art is supposed to enlighten and uplift, this piece of crap doesn’t qualify.” Lynch told PIX11 that he had not seen the installation, but he had heard about it.

Results of Incident: After being harassed, Flux Factory closed the space to the public for the remainder of the exhibition and visits to the installation could be made by appointment only. ('Hands Up' was scheduled to be on display at Flux Factory from May 15–19, 2015).

Source: https://rouxpz.com/hands-up


HANDS UP: https://rouxpz.com/hands-up

Indian American Explores Police Gun Battle Deaths through Digital Art, Jun 8, 2015

Crimes of the Art, Benjamin Sutton May 19, 2015

Police union slams ‘Hands Up’ art exhibit in Queens, MAY 18, 2015

Video interview (PIX11)

Hands Up: Flux Factory Installation Simulates Police Shooting, by Cait Munro, May 18, 2015

NYPD union slams 'Hands Up' art installation in Queens, By THOMAS TRACY and ANDY MAI. NEW YORK DAILY NEWS MAY 17, 2015

Controversial Queens exhibit simulates police shooting, By Nidhi Prakash, May 17, 2015

New York exhibit taps into dialogue on race and policing, by Alice Popovici MAY 15, 2015

Flux Factory Instagram post, May 15, 2015: Hands Up


HANDS UP, a project by Atif Ateeq and Roopa Vasudevan / Opening Reception Friday May 15th, 7 – 10pm / On view May 15th-19th, 2015


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