Saturday, April 2, 2016

Painting removed from ALA show at the Cox Center: Update, painting still hangs

Posted By on Sat, Apr 2, 2016 at 6:36 PM

click to enlarge "Legacy II" by Byron Taylor
  • "Legacy II" by Byron Taylor
Last year, it was Byron Taylor's paintings of women in various states of undress. A bit of soft porn, maybe, but not shocking. This year the Arkansas League of Artists decided to give Taylor's painting above the boot, asking him to come pick it up from the Cox Center, where the ALA spring show is going up.

Taylor posted about the incident on his Facebook page:
So this is happening - again. The Arkansas League of Artists is proving themselves to be, not a league of artists, but a club of prudish hobbyist painters. I got a call this morning to remove my painting, Legacy II, from the Spring Art Show, because it is "offensive." This was apparently not a decision made by the Cox Center, where the show is hung, but by the woman who hung the show, who assures me that she has a "long background in art." This is not how the bylaws read, but I suspect that they will soon. Does anyone want to start a REAL Arts League, where people actually appreciate art and don't get their panties in a twist because of nudity or social commentary? I am supposed to pick it up at the Cox Center at 2:00 this afternoon.
Since the post, he has apparently been able to meet with someone in the ALA, though I don't know what the outcome of the talk will be, and the ALA has not responded to a message I sent them, though it is Saturday and beautiful so people really shouldn't be online anyway.

Censorship of art is and endlessly fascinating story. How do you make the call? Is it always wrong? What about taking into account where the art will hang and the likelihood it will be seen by children? That question was answered by Shannon Dillard Mitchell years ago when she decided to hang an erotic work in an upstairs gallery rather than in the main galleries of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. I think she made the right call; it was still on view, but the kids of SLUFY didn't get distracted by it.

On the other hand, when a photograph that featured an interracial couple at the Children's Museum raised a few hackles, the director resisted, though if memory serves me correctly, because it was a major donor who objected, the picture was moved. That was 20 years ago; surely that would not happen again (though these days, you never know). More recently, I believe a volunteer at the Historic Arkansas Museum asked that a painting be taken down, and to appease her it was. My favorite censorship story took place at the Arkansas Arts Center, when Townsend Wolfe refused to take down a photograph of a derriere being tickled by a feather.

Can an artist expect the ALA to embrace a painting of a dead woman, blood flowing from between her legs? You know, probably not. The ALA is all about landscapes and fish and flowers and fields and portraits of people playing musical instruments. Sweetness and light. Not a whole lot of political statement going on there. It's the Arkansas League of Artists, not the Avant Garde League of Artists. However, once something is accepted into a show, shouldn't it hang? After all, "Legacy II" may be bloody but it's no "Piss Christ."

I, in fact, think it should hang at the State Capitol.

Hope to hear from the league.

UPDATE: Taylor updates things on Facebook. The painting is up and something of a standoff of opinions continues.
'
UPDATE 2: The painting remains. I just got this message from the ALA, though I'm not sure of the sender:

Hello Leslie, Byron's painting was not taking down, the Show Chairman and a few other of our members on hand at the time the piece was initially hung, had such a strong initial reaction to the piece, in a disturbing way, that they initially felt it inappropriate. But after careful consideration of the content and the over all depiction and message behind the piece, it was decided to let the piece remain in our show. Byron has been informed of our decision, and we're really looking forward to a great Spring Show. We hope everyone will come out and see Byron's painting in person, along with the rest of our artists' work.


Tags: , , ,

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (5)

Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

More by Leslie Newell Peacock

  • Ahoy! Blue Sail launches Saturday on Main Street

    Blue Sail Coffee Roasters opens its shop Saturday, March 25, in the Little Rock Technology Park, 417 Main St. The grand opening announcement says the shop will be in business at 7 a.m. and stay open until 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
    • Mar 23, 2017
  • Mo' MoMo

    Katmandu Momo, the food truck created by Nepal native Saroja Shrestha, will open a sit-down eatery in April in the River Market’s Ottenheimer Hall.
    • Mar 22, 2017
  • Buenos Aires Grill opens in the River Market

    The Bruzatori family, Little Rock residents for 14 years, are serving up their family recipes of grilled meats, empanadas, Graciela’s chimichurri (named for the matriarch, Graciela Bruzatori) and other dishes reflective of their Argentinian-Italian heritage at Buenos Aires Grill and Cafe. Head cook is Paul Hohnbaum.
    • Mar 21, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Staff Picks: Netflix and Chill, Benji's pasta fresca, Creedence Clearwater Revival and more

    The podcast Design Matters, published by Design Observer, is celebrating its 10th year and they are revisiting some of their best episodes from the last decade. I just finished this week's replay of the interview with the Scottish born illustrator Marion Deuchars. At the end of the wonderful interview, her two young sons are invited into the studio near where they pitch in some of their own thoughts on art and, in particular, drawing in the art books their mother created for children and adults.
    • Aug 28, 2015
  • Guest Mix: Rural War Room

    World wide weird duo Rural War Room (Donavan Suitt & Byron Werner) is celebrating 10 years of broadcasting and production here in Little Rock and abroad. RWR Radio on KABF 88.3 FM (10 p.m. Tuesdays or anytime on their website), features the duo alternating records in an effort to surprise one another.
    • Sep 14, 2015
  • Your new flags of Little Rock

    BRASHER: Hello Arkansans, this is the first piece from us, Brasher and Rowe and we are some dudes who work in downtown Little Rock and we eat lunch and just talk about all the exciting things around here.
    • Sep 18, 2015

Most Shared

Visit Arkansas

Forest bathing is the Next Big Thing

Forest bathing is the Next Big Thing

Arkansas is the perfect place to try out this new health trend. Read all about the what, why, where and how here.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation