To the editors:
What–a letter thanking Mr. Miner? I am inclined to thank Mr. Bradley, the censor, as well. Though “Shirt Tale” (June 26) leaves a trail of unanswered questions and misinformation about the Uptown Multi-Cultural Art Center, it is the first print the Reader has given us in five years of effort. Are art programs draining tax dollars from health and the homeless? What does Bradley mean by to ” . . . play by one set of rules”? The phrase “shoving [art] down my throat” is a laughable image. The reality of censorship is not.
At issue is whether artists may express their opinions in public. In Mr. Miner’s “Shirt Tale,” Bradley receives 100 lines to justify why his “one set of rules” should determine whose art should be shown in public. Yet description of our unique series of exhibits receives less than 10 lines. Mr. Miner visited our critic at his Dunkin’ Donuts haunt. Did he visit our exhibit under attack nearby? This is our fourth annual “Art of the T-shirt” exhibit series!
“Shirt Tale” misrepresents our acts. When a publicity seeker attempted to impose his opinions on the public in hopes of a confrontation, we placed the work attacked at the art friendly Mary-Arrchie Theatre. Still sensitive to the work’s supporters as represented by Mr. Conner, the police officer stationed at the Bezazian Library, we gave, not sold as reported, a copy of the wearable art to him at the exhibit opening. Warp, the artist, signed it on the spot. Mr. Conner eagerly agreed to wear it off-duty to the exhibit, as on the day your photographer shot his picture. This is community art as only wearable art could make work. We avoided the censor, increased awareness to censorship, respected everyone, and will continue this debate each year.
Unmentioned in “Shirt Tale,” but related, is our exhibit’s theme, “A Town-Hall Meeting of Artists’ Works on T-shirts.” You could have helped us achieve balance by stating in “Shirt Tale” that artists have until August 7 to call us at 561-7676 to submit creative images and opinions for exhibition in the “Art of the T-shirt.” Also omitted is the fact that Bradley and the public in general are encouraged–urged–to express their opinions in our comment books at each site. Mr. Bradley refused, preferring to trash this democratic convention of the art world than to participate. Respect for another’s opinion and the battle of opinions, which is the heart of democracy, is the goal of our exhibits. Express yourself. Make art–not war!
There is nothing new about censorship or Mr. Bradley’s scapegoating arguments toward art. Our creative handling of this common problem plaguing community art exhibits is noteworthy. Each year we have art that can not hang in the public libraries. Perhaps some day we will make the public pay to see what the censors would not let them see for free. The proceeds would go to our favorite charity, the Uptown Multi-Cultural Art Center. Choke on that Mr. Bradley! Perhaps you felt if you gave Mr. Bradley enough rope he would hang himself, Mr. Miner. It took a lot of rope. Thank you Mr. Bradley, er–Mr. Miner. Sorry, from your writing it is hard to tell who speaks for whom.
Uptown Multi-Cultural Art Center