Public Art Issues Illustrate Ideas' Subjectivity
Byline: Kerry Lester
Last week, First Amendment issues abounded at MCC.
This week, another touchy censorship issue came to light.
One of Algonquin's Public Art Display Program artists said the village censored his painting "Rocket Patrol," which was slated to be displayed at the Algonquin Area Public Library.
Brian Sullivan's 8-foot by 10-foot creation combines elements from Salvador Dali's surrealism, a "Tom and Jerry" cartoon and a Buck Rogers movie.
The work also depicts a woman who appears, at first glance, to be bare-chested.
Library officials said their decision not to hang the painting was multifaceted, involving size, available space, and yes, age- appropriateness.
Louise Nees, assistant administrative librarian, noted that the controversial painting was to be placed in the teen area on the library's first floor.
"It probably isn't the best image for kids to be seeing," she said.
Sullivan admitted that though he was disappointed with the library's decision to overrule the Algonquin Public Arts Commission's decision to hang the painting, he wasn't offended by what happened, he told me.
"This kind of thing happens all the time. Art is subjective, after all," he said.
However, lemons turned into lemonade shortly after his work was rejected by the library.
Sullivan has been invited to give a solo exhibition at the University of Illinois Union Gallery this May.
The show, titled "Censored Art," will feature "all of the works that somebody found objectionable. …