Artist: Manuel Peña
Date of Action: May 2008
Region: North America
Location: Las Cruces Museum of Art
Confronting Bodies: Las Cruces Museums Administration
Description of Artwork: Multimedia works that depict a time of "burgeoning sexuality". Most of the works are photograph collages of the artist during his youth with superimposed "beefcake shots". Some shots also depict full-frontal, male nudity.
The Incident: When Peña arrived at Las Cruces Museum of Art to observe his "The Swimming Hole" exhibit on May 9, he came upon a blank wall with a few hooks nailed in where his show was intended to be on display. The acting censors confirmed that the show had in fact been removed, but declined to comment on exactly why. Peña was notified that the images were "too risqué for children and families."
Results of Incident: Peña offered to modify the contested works so at make them acceptable enough for display. Despite these attempts at compromising, Peña's offer was rejected. Peña has claimed that the city excluded his work not simply because it's "risqué", but also, as he has said, "because I'm gay."
Artist irate after Las Cruces Museum of Art removes his collages, Las Cruces Sun-News 05/22/2008