Thursday, April 14, 2011

An open letter to local art galleries

To local art galleries;

As you may or may not be aware, a series of beautiful, large, colorful, nude paintings created by the artist Anna Stump was "censored" by the NTC Foundation and denied exhibition at the Martha Pace Swift Gallery in San Diego's NTC arts district last month. This mindless cancellation is a loss, not only for the artist, but for our local arts community.

And I call on you to help me find another venue for this show.

When censorship of this kind happens in San Diego, it perpetuates the ultra-conservative, sexist, anti-art stereotype that is, unfortunately, associated with our city. A suppression like this, left unamended, makes it OK for all public galleries to deny exhibition on the basis of irrational fear and self-censorship. An event like this, left unchallenged, helps make this an accepted, everyday occurrence, and it's a nail in the coffin of local artists interested in both showing in San Diego and taking risks in their work.

When this story broke in CityBeat, there was a public outcry, a panel discussion, and a demonstration of overwhelming support for Ms. Stump's work. The one thing that didn't come out of the whole ordeal was a suitable replacement venue for this particular show.

The most outrageous thing about this story is that the work, by no means, warrants any kind of censorship. And now the talented, well-spoken, former Fulbright Scholar, Anna Stump has been penalized for attempting to show her stunning, larger than life studies of the human body in a cautiously conservative section of San Diego.

Please take a moment to look at this work.

I am one of the many excited people waiting to see where this show ends up next. Please consider this artists' work for your upcoming exhibitions.

Thank you for your time,

Katherine Sweetman, MFA

City Beat Stories:
More problems for arts at the NTC: Is the city's new Balboa Park censoring art in its public spaces?

Are these nudes 'too hot for the hallway?: An update on the canceled show at the Martha Pace Swift Gallery at NTC

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