(Note: Click here for an update on this story.)
It has been deemed too edgy for the Montclair Public Library. And so I feel compelled to share, here, the painting above, by Gwenn Seemel.
Go ahead, take a look. You won’t suffer any long-term harm, I promise.
The piece of political-protest art was part of an exhibition titled “Love and Fear” that opened on April 2 and will run through April 29. But it was taken down a mere half hour after the exhibition opened.
The exhibition was assembled by the visual arts organization, Studio Montclair, and in a statement provided to Patch.com, Studio Montclair executive director Susanna Baker took responsibility for the removal. She said that the title of the piece and the use of the word “shitty” in it (the phrase “Hello Shitty” is written on it a number of times, though this is not obvious at first glance) forced the move.
Studio Montclair representatives “have always been told that the policy of the library is to not display curse words or nudes,” she said in the statement. “In the past, we have been asked to remove work for both those reasons. We … have always respected and understood the parameters of showing work in a public place that caters to young children.
“The title of the piece on all our documentation was ‘Hello Kitty …’ and the curse words were not obvious to us in the images we had seen of the work prior to the installation. When we saw the word ‘s*****’ written many times on this painting, we realized that it needed to be removed because it violated the library’s policy of art in their public space. We didn’t discuss this decision with library personnel.”
Seemel lives on Long Beach Island and describes herself on her website as an “artist, writer, vlogger, speaker, feminist, and free culture advocate.”
Here is Seemel’s video response. Interestingly, she believes that it’s the “Make America White Again” on Trump’s hat that made people uncomfortable, and not the profanity.
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