Blog / 2019 / What I Have In Common with the People Who Hate My Art
April 2, 2019
This is not the first time that a public library has refused to show my art, but, unlike with the libraries in my county, at least Montclair’s library had the courtesy to communicate directly about its motives. I may disagree with the decision, but I appreciate the way the situation was handled.
Whether you agree with the library or not, I hope you’ll come by the reception this weekend to see all the amazing art that’s still part of Love and Fear!
Opening Reception: Sunday, April 7th from 3 to 5:45 PM
Panel Discussion: Sunday, April 7th from 4 to 5 PM
Open: through April 29th
Hours: Monday through Thursday 10 AM to 8 PM, Friday and Saturday 10 AM to 6 PM, Sunday 1 to 6 PM
Montclair Public Library Gallery
50 South Fullerton Avenue
Montclair, NJ 07042
If you’re curious about all the little details in this painting, you can watch this video. It shows the making of the piece and describes some of the symbolism.
Hello Sh*tty is available for $2500 plus shipping—see all currently available artworks—and there are prints and t-shirts of this piece in my Redbubble shop.
April 13, 2019
Library director Peter Coyl asked me to amend this blog post to explain the library’s position. I told him I would prefer to present the clarification in his words. This is the statement he provided:
During the installation of the “Love and Fear” exhibition, Studio Montclair removed a piece of art by Gwenn Seemel to be in compliance with what they thought was library policy. This was a very unfortunate misunderstanding. Evidently in the past, previous library directors had objected to works with nudity or profanity. Studio Montclair believed they were following Library policy.
The Montclair Public Library does not have policy restricting what artwork is hung in the library. We support free speech and abhor censorship. Ms. Seemel and Studio Montclair have rehung the painting at our request and it will be on display through the end of the month with the rest of the exhibition “Love and Fear.” We hope it promotes thoughtful conversation and discourse.
February 10, 2020
Newsweek’s article originally reported that Studio Montclair believed I had misled them about my art and essentially “asked for it” (the censorship) by trying to pull one over on the institutions. Ten months later, Newsweek repeated Studio Montclair’s liability-deflecting lie about me, leading me to publish an open letter to Studio Montclair, Montclair Public Library, and all cowardly institutions who try to blame artists for censorship. Newsweek has now corrected both articles.
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