Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Museum of Censored Art, adjacent to Smithsonian American Art Museum

This past weekend, I was shocked to discover a form of protest art outside the Smithsonian American Art Museum on F Street NW.

In response to the removal of the video "A Fire in My Belly," by David Wojnarowicz, because it contained a few seconds of a crucifix crawling with ants, from the Hide/Seek exhibition, a group of local organizations formed the Museum of Censored Art in a corrugated metal container, got DC DDOT to give them a public space permit, and they are showing the banned video, just outside the Reynolds Center on F Street NW.

I was impressed that they decided to do this, to raise the money to do it, and to be open for the rest of the run of the exhibit, and that they were able to get a public space permit to begin with...

Today's Post has an article, "Clough defends removal of video‎," about how the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution continues to justify the decision.

The removal of the video demonstrates how hard it is for government funded institutions too be daring, that they have to toe the line and be ready to cower at the lowest common denominator of challenge, and suck up independence and suppress innovative thinking. Basically, government museums are about socialization and the development and maintenance of the idea of national identity.

I like the double meaning of this rug's safety message, which was "on display" at the F Street entrance to the Museum last Saturday.
Gallery Place: The Starting Point for Safety (carpet in the Reynolds Center)

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