A lot of controversial buzz is going on in Savannah’s art community and my show ART PORN is in the center of it. I have a lot to say about it, of course, but I will only recap the basic facts and leave deeper discussion for the show itself or after it for online audiences.
NOW SHOWING in Savannah, except without the big white ART PORN letters on the windows.
1) Minutes after I blogged my post about ART PORN opening today on all my online networks, I get notification that the homeowner’s association (HOA) is not happy about the word “porn” nor the large size of the letters on the window. I had to remove it. I felt the true problem was the word “Porn” and thus leaving “Art” in 10 inch lettering on the window would be acceptable. It was my only advertising on a very low foot traffic street and so I tried to negotiate it.
2) Unexpectedly I bumped into one of the residents who I assumed was the president of the HOA in question on the sidewalk when I went out to see how I could redo the window since the curtains I had to put up basically covered everything, like a white Hijab or burka. I see this woman looking past me and she came to look around me a bit as I was kind of watching her with curiosity and somewhat in her way. I noticed she nodded her head slightly and gave an approved look with her mouth and so I immediately made eye contact and approached her. We spoke for a bit, and she told me she was a resident in the building and we talked about the matter. I asked her if the Art was better, if it was ok as is. She nodded and said “yes, that’s fine” and she made it clear that the word “porn” wasn’t wanted in the neighborhood, and especially that building where not one resident “is under 50″. Interestingly enough, as luck would have it, my last walk in of the day was a man in his 60s who looked at each piece, read each narrative and plans to return with his wife. So there.
3) An hour or less after that conversation with the woman, the gallery owner notified me that even the “Art” had to go. It was too big, and further, thanks to this situation (and I do apologize) all signs must now be approved by the HOA when showing at the gallery. There is nothing above the green stripe anymore.
4) HOA? What do they have to do with a gallery? Simply Oglethorpe Gallery sits nestled in a quaint and beautifully romantic row of homes that belong to the Oglethorpe Avenue’s residential neighborhood. Very pretty. Porn is, well, this is the South: it’s shameful. Except to me and quite frankly, to a lot of others who are just fine with the food porn, book porn, brownie porn or art porn. They might even like a little bit of sex porn. Porn isn’t a scary word, concept or purchase. Freak porn? Yes, I concede but not ALL porn is freak porn and not ALL Savannah residents feel it is appropriate for an HOA to decide our freedoms as human beings, as American citizens or as local artists. So, I’m a bit disappointed because this is apparently the second time in a month this HOA censorship has happened in Savannah. Is it acceptable, constitutional or moral? Do HOAs have too much power over the community? Further, exactly what checks and balances are there for the HOA residents it represents?
5) My artwork is elegant, classy and beautiful, and yes it’s risque but sex is how we create the future, how we feel connected to someone we love, how we feel pleasure. Pornography does nothing but document the act of these concepts we find value in yet pornography tarnishes it? Why? The word “porn” NEEDS a feminine revamp, no?
6) All this buzz caught the attention of the local newspaper. Because, realistically, we can play the hide the porn card but when you hide “Art” and call it out on its size, now you’re stepping on the local talent’s freedom and that’s not ok. So, more on that when word gets out, hopefully in a couple of days there might be another article. Here’s the current article that is “hot” in Do Savannah Arts and Entertainment section online about my artistic vision. It comes out in print tomorrow in #dosavannah.
7) Open reception is Saturday 3-5pm but I will be open until 8pm. I’m looking forward to meeting some of Savannah’s art enthusiasts!
Spread the word #artporn and a shortlink to this blog post: http://wp.me/p3f9L-26m
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