Censorship is never good nor right


Artwork by Kathy Nida

Who knew art quilts could be so subversive that they would need to be banned?  That’s just what happened to artist Kathy Nida.  Kathy’s work has naked people, so don’t click the link if that bothers you. Kathy’s post has all the details of what this situation is all about.  Except for the fact that both of her works have now been shipped back so no one on the American Quilter’s Society Quilt Week circuit will ever see them.  All because one person complained.

I want to speak out against the removal of her artwork for two reasons.  The organization refusing to show Kathy’s artwork is the American Quilter’s Society. This is also the organization through which the National Quilt Museum has chosen to tour the Gala of the Unexpected exhibit of which my artwork is part. I am embarrassed that my artwork is being shown by an organization that is willing to remove artwork rather than try to make a complaint into a teachable moment about the power and value of art.

The second reason is that censorship is never good nor right.  Here’s a great general description of what censorship is from the American Civil Liberties Union.

Thank you, Kathy Loomis, for pointing out that censorship is unconstitutional only when carried out by the government.  But as the ACLU page notes, private censorship is “best countered by groups and individuals speaking out and organizing in defense of the threatened expression.”  That’s us!

Kathy Nida’s graphic rendition of the human condition may not be for everyone, but to me it seems that artwork engendering discussion should be given a place of honor, rather than removed.

Please contact the American Quilter’s Society today from this page and let them know politely that the removal of Kathy Nida’s artwork should be re-considered and reversed.. Or use the addresses provided in this well-reasoned and effective letter of protest written by Mary Beth Frezon.  And don’t forget the power of social media by posting on FB and your own blog.

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08 2016

4 Comments Add Yours ↓

The upper is the most recent comment

  1. 1

    Kathy – Thank you for reminding me of that rather huge distinction! I have amended the post and also commented on my own post on Facebook to make it clear that this is a case of private censorship. Always a good time for education about the power and value of art.

  2. Denise Spillane #

    We need art to be art and free speech. This art should not be pulled.

  3. Kathy Loomis #

    I hate what AQS did just as much as anybody — it seems like such a shortsighted, kneejerk, unconsidered and cowardly response — but please let’s don’t try to stretch the First Amendment over this discussion. As the quote from the ACLU points out, that wonderful piece of law says the government cannot limit expression. AQS may indeed have the reputation of embodying the quilt police, but it is not yet an arm of the government.

    So yes, it’s censorship, and yes, it’s ridiculous and deplorable, but the First Amendment has nothing to do with it.

  4. 4

    Thanks for making it so easy to contact them. Here’s what I wrote:

    Count me in with the group of artists who are appalled and outraged at your terrible decsion to censor Kathy Nida’s work. One person complained about what she might have (but didn’t) see in the piece — how many are responding in defense of artistic freedom and expression?

    This — *THIS* — is exactly why the field of quilting sometimes seems to be dying. There is no room in the next generations’ lives for this kind of BS. Shame on the individuals involved in the initial decision and on AQS as an organzation for backing that terrible play. I am disgusted.