Censorpedia: An Interactive Database of Censorship Incidents

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Featured Case

Kansas Lynched Billboard final.jpg

Artist: Dread Scott

Year: 2016

Date of Action: September-November 2016

Region: North America

Location: Kansas City, Missouri

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion, Violence

Medium: Design, Public Art

Confronting Bodies: Outfront Media

Description of Artwork: The originally proposed work incorporates a photograph of a flag bearing a message about racial violence on the left-hand side of the billboard, and on the right-hand side, a black background bearing three columns of hashtags with names of innocent African American men and women who have fallen victim to police violence.

The Incident: The work, proposed on behalf of the artist by the arts organization 50/50, was scheduled for display on the billboard at 1628 Wyoming Street. 50/50 leases the billboard from Outfront Media as part of their rotating exhibition program in Kansas City. Outfront Media rejected the artwork because they thought it violated their policy against “negative advertising” as well as the requirement that “ads have to be positive (non-confrontational toward any group or individual) to maintain relationships throughout the community.”

Dread Scott and 50/50 contacted NCAC for assistance. NCAC wrote a letter to Outfront CEO along with a letter from 50/50's lawyer. Dread Scott also proposed a second billboard design as a compromise, which removed the most controversial element, the photograph of the flag, and instead consisted of a black background with four columns memorializing the names of innocent African Americans who died at the hands of police.

Results of Incident: Outfront Media accepted the compromise and the new billboard design went forward.

'A Partial Listing of People Lynched By Police Recently' on view through December 31st for BLACK LIVES MATTER at 50/50 Kansas City.

Source: http://www.5050kc.com/programs

Images and correspondence between NCAC, the artist and 50/50.

With NCAC Help, Artist Successfully Reverses Corporation’s Objections to Black Lives Matter Artwork, DECEMBER 6, 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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