Thursday, November 02, 2006

Culture skirmish

Art too edgy for some in downtown Durham (NC)

BY DOUGLAS VUNCANNON, Independent Weekly

The Sex Police are back in the Triangle! But, sadly, it's not the glorious 1990s funk/rock band but a morals brigade of a more literal kind, one with a willingness to entertain voices calling for state censorship. Even if it was only the voice of one angry man screaming in a lobby.

On Oct. 21, two police officers arrived at West Village Historic Loft Apartments in downtown Durham and instructed the management to remove artwork on display in the upscale complex's lobby. Assistant property manager Cecily Ferguson, who curates works exhibited at West Village, says that Officer B. J. King told her that a complaint about the exhibition had been received and that after researching the matter he had determined that displaying the paintings violated N.C. law. With a copy of North Carolina Crimes in hand, he reportedly sited G.S. 14-190.14, which states that displaying material "harmful to minors" is a Class 2 misdemeanor. Ferguson decided to turn the paintings around to face the wall until the artist could be contacted....

In response to the police intervention, [artist Cynthia] Grow covered the bottom two-thirds of the paintings with brown paper in order to mimic the treatment pornographic magazines receive in convenience stores. It is a fitting act of self-censorship since G.S. 14-190.14 outlines in detail how to legally display pornography for commercial purposes.

To read the entire article, click here

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