Censorpedia: An Interactive Database of Censorship Incidents

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Featured Case

Soar 3622x3622 RemovedWork BM.jpg

Artist: Brooke Mason

Year: 2016

Date of Action: April 2016

Region: North America

Location: West Hollywood, CA

Subject: Nudity

Medium: Photography

Confronting Bodies: City of West Hollywood

Description of Artwork: Mason's photography challenges gender stereotypes of perceived female roles in society. The three photographs included in the WOMEN MANIFEST exhibitions -- “Voyeur”, “Glass Ceiling” and "Soar" -- depict semi-nude women posing in interiors.

WOMEN MANIFEST was a series of three exhibitions in West Hollywood curated by photographer Brooke Mason to coincide with Women’s History Month. Mason's photographs “Voyeur” and “Glass Ceiling” were selected for the exhibition "EXPOSED: Celebrating Local Women Artists" in Plummer's Park. Mason's photograph "Soar" was juried into another exhibition, "Out and About," which opened at City Hall.

The Incident: “Voyeur” and “Glass Ceiling” were removed on March 11th five days after EXPOSED opened, due to an unknown city staff member's complaint. The City of West Hollywood also banned Mason's photograph “Soar” from ”Out and About”; the City was concerned that the image featured a partially nude underage model, which was not the case. The City would not allow “Soar” to be shown, threatening to cancel the exhibition if the photograph was included. Mason pulled “Soar” from the show herself.

Results of Incident: On April 14th 2016, the City of West Hollywood reached an agreement with the artist. In addition to issuing an apology to Brooke Mason for censoring her work, The City agreed to sponsor a solo exhibition of Mason's photographs at the Art Room, Plummer Park Community Center, April 21st – June 27th, 2016. However, soon after opening to the public, that exhibition met with unwarranted closures due to misunderstandings among staffers about gallery procedures and policies. The City has promised to adopt new, clear-cut guidelines for exhibiting art in public spaces.

Source: http://www.wehonews.com/censorship-in-west-hollywood/, http://brookemason.com/

Artist Contests WeHo Limits on Photos of Nude Women, Mar 16, 2016

Censorship in West Hollywood, By Ryan Gierach, March 16, 2016

WeHo’s idea of celebrating Women’s History Month is REPRESSION, By Ryan Gierach, March 17, 2016


NCAC Letter to Lindsey Horvath, Mayor of the City of West Hollywood; West Hollywood Blocks Artist’s Work / Resolution Found, April 14, 2016

What is Censorpedia?

Censorpedia is a crowdsourced online database of censorship cases within the arts and in culture. It is aimed at those researching censorship, at activists working for freedom of expression and at artists and other cultural producers whose expression has been subject to censorship or attempted censorship.

Censorpedia documents censorship incidents by providing the who, what, when, where and why. By providing a repository of information about what is vulnerable to censorship and about the strategies and tactics that have defeated previous’ censorship attempts, Censorpedia aids the fight for free expression.

Researchers can search for a specific case, year or keyword using the search box, as well as browse by medium, by grounds for censorship, or explore a random case.

Activists can search for ongoing cases or contribute a case that is ongoing or recently resolved.

Artists and cultural producers are similarly invited to add cases they are directly involved with or are familiar with first hand.

Censorpedia builds on the landmark 1994 art project The File Room, initiated by Muntadas.

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