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: , , ,


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

  • Say, it's sweet potato pie contest time again!

    An ingredient that shaped Little Rock's culture for years was Robert "Say" McIntosh's famous sweet potato pies. The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center pays homage to Say and his pies with its annual "Say It Ain't Say's" sweet potato pie baking contest, now in its fifth year.
    • Oct 27, 2016
  • Leg room soon at The Root Cafe

    People who love dining at The Root Cafe but shy away because of the crowds will be happy to learn that the new dining area likely will be open by the end of next week. Corri Bristow Sundell, who owns and operates the Root Cafe with her husband, Jack Sundell, said the restaurant is waiting on the city plumbing inspector for the second bathroom the restaurant was required to install when it added three shipping container units.
    • Oct 26, 2016
  • Cheese dip champs, highest hog roasters: Here are the winners

    The city's sages in the secrets of great cheese dip and whole hog roasting showed off last weekend, at the 6th annual World Cheese Dip Championship, held last Saturday, Oct. 22, at the River Market pavilions, and the 4th annual Arkansas Times Whole Hog Roast on Sunday, Oct. 23.
    • Oct 26, 2016
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Raborn reflects on Italy, at Boswell Mourot DATE CHANGE

    It's a quick show, so don't put it off: "An Italy Experience: Reflections on the Past and Present," figurative work by Laura Raborn, is at Boswell Mourot Fine Art Feb. 28 through March 5. March 21-April 2.
    • Mar 18, 2015
  • Listen to Lo Thraxx's new mixtape, 'Sharkansas'

    "Sharkansas," the new mixtape from Little Rock rapper Lo Thraxx has been one of our most anticipated local releases of the year, and it's out as of this afternoon. It features Two 9's Curtis Williams, Raz Fresco, Houston rappers Doeman and Roosh Williams, plus production by Fresco Grey, Trakksounds and others.
    • Mar 13, 2015
  • Checking in with Hard Pass

    Shayne Gray talks with Mitch Vanhoose and Chad Conder of Hard Pass (formerly Cosby) ahead of the band's album release on July 22.
    • Jul 21, 2016

Most Shared

  • Issue 3: blank check

    Who could object to a constitutional amendment "concerning job creation, job expansion and economic development," which is the condensed title for Issue 3 for Arkansas voters on Nov. 8?
  • Little Rock police kill man downtown

    Little Rock police responding to a disturbance call near Eighth and Sherman Streets about 12:40 a.m. killed a man with a long gun, Police Chief Kenton Buckner said in an early morning meeting with reporters.
  • From the mind of Sol LeWitt: Crystal Bridges 'Loopy Doopy': A correction

    Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is installing Sol Lewitt's 70-foot eye-crosser "Wall Drawing 880: Loopy Doopy," waves of complementary orange and green, on the outside of the Twentieth Century Gallery bridge. You can glimpse painters working on it from Eleven, the museum's restaurant, museum spokeswoman Beth Bobbitt said
  • Ted Suhl loses another bid for new trial; faces stiff sentencing recommendation

    Ted Suhl, the former operator of residential and out-patient mental health services, has lost a second bid to get a new trial on his conviction for paying bribes to influence state Human Services Department policies. Set for sentencing Thursday, Suhl faces a government request for a sentence up to almost 20 years. He argues for no more than 33 months.
  • Football and foster kids

    It took a football stadium to lay bare Republican budget hypocrisy in Arkansas.

Visit Arkansas

Jodi Morris's lifelong ties to the National Park Service

Jodi Morris's lifelong ties to the National Park Service

"History is always happening" at Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site

Most Recent Comments



© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation