The Veil of Intent
The Veil of Intent
During the spring semester, 1995, the Maryland Institute, College of Art, the Walters Art Gallery, and the Contemporary Museum of Baltimore, Maryland collaborated in conducting a seminar for selected students related to the exhibition entitled, “Going for Baroque,” to open at the Walters Art Gallery in October, 1995. At the conclusion of the seminar, students submitted work to be considered for the exhibition.
In May, 1995, my interactive CD-ROM entitled “The I for Pleasure” was selected by Joaneath Spicer, Curator for the Walters Art Gallery, Lisa Corrin, Curator for the Contemporary Museum, and Barry Nemett, faculty member of the Maryland Institute, College of Art, to be included in this special student component of the exhibition.
On October 6, 1995, two weeks prior to the opening of the exhibition, I received a letter from Mariana S. Simpson, Chief Curator of the Walters Art Gallery, stating that the work could not be shown for reasons of content and was, therefore, censored from the exhibition.
Coincidentally, on late Friday afternoon, December 1, 1995, the works entitled “Amuro Puro” by Kukuli Velarde and “Queen for a Day” by David Reynolds, were removed from exhibition spaces at the Maryland Institute, College of Art, along with AIDS/HIV informational posters and “A Day Without Art” announcements in preparation for Portfolio Day weekend, all for reasons of content.
Although the works were reinstalled in their appropriate exhibition spaces the following Monday morning, this incident triggered a highly public response from faculty and students, forcing one of the most prominent cultural institutions in Baltimore to examine its position on the issue of censorship.
The following is my personal account of the events surrounding the censorship not only of my own work, but also the work of fellow artists within this specific community.