Letters to the Editor

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TAM: Art is free speech made visible

Letter by Jacquelyn E. Giles, University Place on June 7, 2011 at 4:39 pm | 5 Comments »
June 8, 2011 9:47 am

Re: “Purge exhibit of offensive content” (letter, 6-7).

The Tacoma Art Museum might consider increased emphasis in docent training on the nature of art since two former docents have publicly exhorted them to censor the contents of an exhibition they have not seen simply because it was found “offensive by many of our congressional leaders when it was shown in D.C.”

I don’t remember voting for a Congressional Art Police Force, do you?

The ex-docents presume the “wishes of the membership and the predominant views of the community” coincide with their own and equate TAM’s planned showing of “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture” with entering “this most sensitive debate as a clear sympathizer for gay and lesbian ascendancy.”

Ascendancy from and to what? From second-class citizenship to equal treatment under the law? Next thing you know, they’ll be on city and county councils and in Congress! Oh, wait . . .

No artist polls the public before creating a statement in paint, marble or glass, nor should museums do so before displaying new or controversial art. Throughout history despots have denounced,suppressed and confiscated art they deemed “subversive” or “offensive to religion,” but art has consistently outlived tyrants and their censors.

Art is free speech made visible. Those who don’t want to “listen” should stay home and allow others to form their own opinions after “hearing” the message.

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