The Collegian : the weekly newspaper of Behrend College. (Erie, PA) 1989-1993, December 09, 1993, Image 8

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    Page &
This letter was originally sent to Ms.
Susan Anderson, coordiator of Protestant
Campus Ministry. It was also sent to the
Behrend College Collegian for
Dear Ms
This is to register my dissatisfaction
with and protest of the juried portion of
the 1993 Wintergarden Art Show, and
your and Protestant Campus Ministry’s
handling of it
Let me say that although I don’t know
you, 1 know several artists, some who
worked on the show, who do seem to
know you fairly well.
Their consensus, stated in a number of
ways, is that you have a very narrow view
of what is appropriate in art which colored
the outcome of the show; and further that
you did not do the show for the love of
art, but for the dollar value that it
potentially meant
That the show hosted on the campus of
an institution of higher learning, where
the students should be exposed to and
challenged by different ideas, would be
censored on the the basis of content: i.e.
conflicting religious or anti-religious
content and perceived sexual or violent
content is appalling in my view.
One artist was told in advance by a
member of the committee that one of his
pieces would be judged anti-Christian and
therefore should not be submitted.
Another was actually accepted and hung,
but was removed on the pretext of it being
violent, even though my informant, who
was there, could not see anything violent
no matter how the imagination was
Although the photograph by Tom Lee
(one of the strongest images in the show)
was accepted, it should be noted it is the
only nude that was.
Further, the genitalia happened to be in
shadow, and it was hung in the place most
likely to be overlooked by the viewing
Coincidentally, its placement was in the
location most likely to be damaged by
sunlight or an unseen vandal. There is no
doubt that if Mr. Lee had submitted two
other works that they would have been
accepted, and the nude excluded from the
show. The argument that this was not an
anti-figure show is not convincing.
Regarding my work, the painting that
was the weakest of the three, in my my
estimation, was accepted while the figure
studies were not
For that matter, the rejected pieces were
considerably stronger than a good deal of
what was accepted into the show.
Published weekly by the students
The Pennsylvania State University
at Erie, The Behrend Cottage
A&cia Henman
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If I remember correctly the application
form cautioned that work could be declined
without comment
Your call to me, however, was anything
but a no-comment It was “your work
‘Mistletoe #l,’ and ‘Man in the Moon #2’
are unacceptable to the show.” That and
the tone of voice spoke volumes.
What is particularly alarming is that one
of the committee members told me that
there would be no discrimination against
the figure.
This individual also told me that she
went so far as to give you a detailed
description of “Mistletoe #1” which 1
originally decided against in favor of
another piece which I thought would be
“less wild” for you to deal with; and came
back with the statement that such a piece
would not be discriminated against on the
basis of content
Nor would there be a problem with
frontal male nudity in general.
Anti-religious and violent content is
extremely unlikely in my work, and a
sexually explicit interpretation of either
piece requires more imagination than I
Let me note that I have had figure
studies appear in shows on the campuses
of Villa Maria and Gannon University.
The rejection of these pieces after such
affirmations seems to me to constitute
falsehood and violation of trust, and the
accepting the funds for them theft by
fraud. This was more appalling because it
was done by a religious organization.
It would appear that Michelangelo’s
“Risen Christ’ and Bosch’s “The Garden of
earthly Delights” would be rejected as
religiously objectionable; Donatello’s
“David” mid Cadmus’ “Two Boys on a
Beach #1” as sexually explicit; Goy’s
“The Third of May, 1808” and Gninwald’s
"Crucifixion” as violent and therefore
“unacceptable” to your show.
Yet all are where children, not to say
college students, can study the issues
presented in them.
Personally I find the above mentioned
religious works at variance with my
spiritual understanding, but I would find
exclusion of such works unacceptable.
I’m sure that the defense is that this
show is hosted by Protestant Campus
Ministry. If, however. Campus Ministry
finds it difficult to deal with artistic
issues, it seems to me that means
excluding art shows as fundraisers in the
future. Or the exhibition should be run by
some other organization.
Lnke Gehriag
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Mahoney, Put Marini, Sacdi Mdchiarre, Rob Mofttt,
Rucker, Viaoe Smith, Kevin Stank, lea TaMn, Bill
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Thursday, December 9, 1993
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