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{{Display censorship incident
 
{{Display censorship incident
 
|ongoing=no
 
|ongoing=no
|year=2016
+
|year=1934
 
|region=North America
 
|region=North America
|artist=Brooke Mason,
+
|artist=Ann Rice O’Hanlon,
|subject=Nudity
+
|subject=Political/Economic/Social Opinion
|confronting_bodies=City of West Hollywood
+
|confronting_bodies=University of Kentucky
|medium=Photography
+
|medium=Painting, Public Art
|date_of_action=April 2016
+
|date_of_action=November 25, 2015
|location=West Hollywood, CA
+
|location=Lexington, Kentucky, United States of America
|description_of_content=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.  
+
|description_of_content=Ann Rice O'Hanlon was a 20th-century American visual artist who painted murals. An alumna of the University of Kentucky, O'Hanlon painted a wall-length mural (fresco) inside the university's Memorial Hall in 1934 as part of the Treasury Relief Art Project with funds from the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The 11 x 38 foot fresco depicts the history of Kentucky through a series of vignettes, including explorers on the frontier, horse racing and scenes of downtown Lexington, the construction of log cabins, fishing off a bridge, passengers riding in a train, and horse training. It includes depictions of African-Americans picking tobacco in the fields, white people dancing to music played by black musicians, and a Native American peering from the woods at a white woman gathering water from a stream.
 +
|description_of_incident=Students of color at the University of Kentucky objected to the mural. In a November 23 statement issued two weeks after a meeting with two dozen African-American students, University President Eli Capilouto related this comment:
  
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.
+
"One African American student recently told me that each time he walks into class at Memorial Hall he looks at the black men and women toiling in tobacco fields and receives the terrible reminder that his ancestors were enslaved, subjugated by his fellow humans. Worse still, the mural provides a sanitized image of that history."
|description_of_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.
+
 
|description_of_result=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.
+
On November 25, 2015, the administration covered the entire fresco in white fabric. Capiluoto referred to the shrouding as an interim action, as a "long-term answer will take some time." Capilouto also created a task force made up of faculty, staff and students.
|image=Soar 3622x3622 RemovedWork BM.jpg
+
|description_of_result=In response to the incident, the American poet, novelist, and activist Wendell Berry wrote an op-ed in the Lexington Herald-Leader denouncing the University of Kentucky’s decision:
|source=http://www.wehonews.com/censorship-in-west-hollywood/, http://brookemason.com/
+
 
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"The president...objects to the fresco on the grounds that it reminds 'one black student... that his ancestors were slaves.' That statement has at least two arresting implications: (1) that black students should not ever be reminded that their ancestors were slaves, and (2) that white students should not ever be reminded that their ancestors were slave owners. Do students, then, study history at our 'flagship university' in order to forget it?"
 +
 
 +
In April 2017, the administration removed the drapery and the mural was once again visible;  after nearly two years under wraps, the task force had concluded that the mural should be displayed, but with accompanying wall text to give historical context to the work. Signage describing its history, including the concerns voiced about it over the years, was added nearby.
 +
 
 +
In an [https://www.kentucky.com/opinion/editorials/article100481602.html Op-Ed], UK President Capilouto stated:
 +
 
 +
“Against that backdrop, the concern, for many, is that the mural does not adequately reflect the violence and inhumanity that many experienced through subjugation and slavery,” he said. “Those questions of intent, context and perception have become part of a larger conversation at UK about racial climate. And, as is so often the case, we’ve been led by students.”
 +
 
 +
In August 2018, [https://www.chronicle.com/article/What-the-U-of-Kentucky-Did/244269? The Chronicle of Higher Education reported] that the University of Kentucky commissioned Philadelphia artist Karyn Olivier to create a work that responds to O’Hanlon’s mural. A committee was formed to solicit a public artwork in response to the mural and surrounding controversy. After issuing an open call to artists for submissions, the committee invited Olivier and another artist to submit final proposals. They selected Olivier’s project. Her work is now installed in the dome of the building's vestibule, to be seen before entering the room that houses O’Hanlon’s mural. The installation covers the domed ceiling in gold leaf, with black and Native American figures from the mural interspersed in the gold field, along with four portraits of influential black and Native American Kentuckians. A quotation from Frederick Douglass is displayed around the dome's lower edge.
 +
|image=UKentucky.jpg
 
}}
 
}}
[http://www.wehoville.com/2016/03/16/artist-contests-weho-limits-on-photos-of-nude-women/ Artist Contests WeHo Limits on Photos of Nude Women, Mar 16, 2016]
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{{DISPLAYTITLE:<span style="font-style: italic;">University of Kentucky Memorial Hall mural</span>}}
 +
[https://www.chronicle.com/article/What-the-U-of-Kentucky-Did/244269? What the U. of Kentucky Did About a Controversial Campus Fresco Depicting Slavery], By Claire Hansen AUGUST 14, 2018
 +
 
 +
[http://ncac.org/blog/shrouding-history-or-protecting-students-university-of-kentucky-covers-1930s-mural Victory: A Year On, University of Kentucky Uncovers Controversial Mural Depicting Slaves, NCAC, BY SVETLANA MINTCHEVA, orig. post Dec 3, 2015; Update: Apr 21, 2017]
  
[http://wehonews.com/censorship-in-west-hollywood/ Censorship in West Hollywood, By Ryan Gierach, March 16, 2016 ]
+
[http://www.kentucky.com/news/local/education/article140580518.html Controversial UK mural uncovered, this time with context, BY LINDA BLACKFORD, March 24, 2017]
  
[http://wehonews.com/wehos-idea-of-celebrating-womens-history-month-is-repression/ WeHo’s idea of celebrating Women’s History Month is REPRESSION, By Ryan Gierach, March 17, 2016 ]
+
[https://ncac.org/censorship-news-articles/confronting-the-past-in-paint Confronting the Past in Pain[t], OCTOBER 7, 2016 BY NCAC STAFF
  
[http://wehonews.com/weho-apologizes-but-for-what-and-whom-is-the-city/ WEHO APOLOGIZES, BUT FOR WHAT? AND WHOM IS “THE CITY” March 23, 2016 By Ryan Gierach WEHO NEWS]
+
[http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/wendell-berry-vs-political-correctness Wendell Berry vs. Political Correctness, By ROD DREHER, December 1, 2015]
  
[http://ncac.org/blog/west-hollywood-blocks-artists-work NCAC Letter to Lindsey Horvath, Mayor of the City of West Hollywood; West Hollywood Blocks Artist’s Work / Resolution Found, April 14, 2016]
+
[http://www.kentucky.com/opinion/op-ed/article47230635.html Op-Ed: Censors on the flagship, BY WENDELL BERRY, November 30, 2015]
  
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[http://www.kentucky.com/opinion/editorials/article100481602.html Moral of UK mural debate: mutual respect: Kudos for uncovering a work of art and unveiling a new commitment to a diverse, inclusive campus], Lexington Herald Leader, Sept 7, 2016
  
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[http://ukcc.uky.edu/cgi-bin/dynamo?maps.391+campus+0049 Campus Guide –Memorial Hall (Full image of mural)].
  
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Revision as of 12:09, 1 May 2019

Featured Case



UKentucky.jpg

Artist: Ann Rice O’Hanlon

Year: 1934

Date of Action: November 25, 2015

Region: North America

Location: Lexington, Kentucky, United States of America

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Painting, Public Art

Confronting Bodies: University of Kentucky

Description of Artwork: Ann Rice O'Hanlon was a 20th-century American visual artist who painted murals. An alumna of the University of Kentucky, O'Hanlon painted a wall-length mural (fresco) inside the university's Memorial Hall in 1934 as part of the Treasury Relief Art Project with funds from the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The 11 x 38 foot fresco depicts the history of Kentucky through a series of vignettes, including explorers on the frontier, horse racing and scenes of downtown Lexington, the construction of log cabins, fishing off a bridge, passengers riding in a train, and horse training. It includes depictions of African-Americans picking tobacco in the fields, white people dancing to music played by black musicians, and a Native American peering from the woods at a white woman gathering water from a stream.

The Incident: Students of color at the University of Kentucky objected to the mural. In a November 23 statement issued two weeks after a meeting with two dozen African-American students, University President Eli Capilouto related this comment:

"One African American student recently told me that each time he walks into class at Memorial Hall he looks at the black men and women toiling in tobacco fields and receives the terrible reminder that his ancestors were enslaved, subjugated by his fellow humans. Worse still, the mural provides a sanitized image of that history."

On November 25, 2015, the administration covered the entire fresco in white fabric. Capiluoto referred to the shrouding as an interim action, as a "long-term answer will take some time." Capilouto also created a task force made up of faculty, staff and students.

Results of Incident: In response to the incident, the American poet, novelist, and activist Wendell Berry wrote an op-ed in the Lexington Herald-Leader denouncing the University of Kentucky’s decision:

"The president...objects to the fresco on the grounds that it reminds 'one black student... that his ancestors were slaves.' That statement has at least two arresting implications: (1) that black students should not ever be reminded that their ancestors were slaves, and (2) that white students should not ever be reminded that their ancestors were slave owners. Do students, then, study history at our 'flagship university' in order to forget it?"

In April 2017, the administration removed the drapery and the mural was once again visible; after nearly two years under wraps, the task force had concluded that the mural should be displayed, but with accompanying wall text to give historical context to the work. Signage describing its history, including the concerns voiced about it over the years, was added nearby.

In an Op-Ed, UK President Capilouto stated:

“Against that backdrop, the concern, for many, is that the mural does not adequately reflect the violence and inhumanity that many experienced through subjugation and slavery,” he said. “Those questions of intent, context and perception have become part of a larger conversation at UK about racial climate. And, as is so often the case, we’ve been led by students.”

In August 2018, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported that the University of Kentucky commissioned Philadelphia artist Karyn Olivier to create a work that responds to O’Hanlon’s mural. A committee was formed to solicit a public artwork in response to the mural and surrounding controversy. After issuing an open call to artists for submissions, the committee invited Olivier and another artist to submit final proposals. They selected Olivier’s project. Her work is now installed in the dome of the building's vestibule, to be seen before entering the room that houses O’Hanlon’s mural. The installation covers the domed ceiling in gold leaf, with black and Native American figures from the mural interspersed in the gold field, along with four portraits of influential black and Native American Kentuckians. A quotation from Frederick Douglass is displayed around the dome's lower edge.

Source:



What the U. of Kentucky Did About a Controversial Campus Fresco Depicting Slavery, By Claire Hansen AUGUST 14, 2018

Victory: A Year On, University of Kentucky Uncovers Controversial Mural Depicting Slaves, NCAC, BY SVETLANA MINTCHEVA, orig. post Dec 3, 2015; Update: Apr 21, 2017

Controversial UK mural uncovered, this time with context, BY LINDA BLACKFORD, March 24, 2017

Confronting the Past in Pain[t, OCTOBER 7, 2016 BY NCAC STAFF

Wendell Berry vs. Political Correctness, By ROD DREHER, December 1, 2015

Op-Ed: Censors on the flagship, BY WENDELL BERRY, November 30, 2015

Moral of UK mural debate: mutual respect: Kudos for uncovering a work of art and unveiling a new commitment to a diverse, inclusive campus, Lexington Herald Leader, Sept 7, 2016

Campus Guide –Memorial Hall (Full image of mural).


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