A guest post from Matti Leshem:
My fifteen year old daughter, Kaley, was invited, along with several other students from her high school (and other schools) to submit her artwork for a show to be held at the Hamilton Gallery in Santa Monica tonight. Artribe http://www.artribe.org/ was holding a fund-raiser for Spiral, which provides humanitarian aid in Vietnam and Nepal. We met the founder Marichia, who was charming and eccentric and Italian.
I was excited. Kaley had worked hard on a photograph that was quite good and provocative. It was an assignment she had done in class and was an allegory for the fragility of life and death; not bad for a first photograph.
We got there and there were varying degrees of art in multiple media, including some pretty interesting paintings. There were also some truly bad pieces and pieces that some people might have found offensive, including a drawing of a pregnant woman smoking through a hole in her belly. But that is the subjective nature of art and I was moved by the overall creativity of these young people.
I looked everywhere for Kaley's photograph and couldn't find it. I brought this to the attention of one of the founders, a young woman who didn't identify herself, other than to say she founded it with her brother, who stood hapless beside her. I asked her about Kaley's photograph and she said and I quote, "Oh yes, the pig... The woman who hung the show decided it was a family event and it was too disturbing, so we didn't put it up."
I was livid.
There is no criteria for this show. Just a submission form. Everyone else's material was hung and the "woman who hung the show," the self-proclaimed censor and enemy of art was now gone. I asked the founder to identify her and she wouldn't. I asked for the photograph back. They looked for it for ten minutes and then apologized that on top of not hanging it, they had lost it. Amateur night in the monkey house!
I'm glad they had the fund-raiser but I am really disgusted that even in the world of art, political correctness, censorship and the fear of "offending people" has taken its serious toll. Well, I am offended.
(Image: Kaley Leshem, used with permission. Note, fetal piglet was used as part of a Science class prior to being photographed -- MissW).