Blog / 2016 / Respect and Communication, Keys to a Successful Exhibition
September 1, 2016
After a local library censored my art in July, I stopped believing in the institution of the public library a little bit. I was hurt by the discrimination and worn out by the conversation around what had happened.
On top of my disappointment, I was also waiting for the other shoe to drop. The library that had courted me and then crapped on me was only one of two such institutions in the county that had invited me to show Crime Against Nature, and I had no reason to expect that the second library would behave any better than the first.
But it did. It recently confirmed the show and expressed a preference for certain pieces from the series over others, saying that the three images shown in this post might not be as popular with their customers.
I was happy to have some guidance about what to display, because I want to exhibit my work where it will be supported. If I shamed a venue into showing my art or into allowing me to show all my art, I might earn some points with those who already support my cause, but the consequences outweigh any gains. I’d only deepen the fear and anger of those who were being forced into experiencing my work against their will.
Art should start a conversation. The best of art asks questions, without giving answers. It invites the audience to participate in the making of culture and society in a way that the news media and even voting cannot.
Do I wish that the homophobic library would consider that the Internet-addicted children in its community are exposed to pornography at a very young age and that blocking these kids from learning about biology is silly? Yes.
But it’s not me alone who’s going to be able to inspire them to see things that way. It’s us—you, me, the library that is showing my art, and everyone that believes that education is the cure and not the enemy—who will change the world together.
Receive an email every six weeks with announcements about books, talks, and events.
Receive an email whenever I publish a new artwork or article.