Sunday, February 18, 2007

GL on the BPL in the NYT

Paul Berger turns his attention in today's New York Times to the "Footprints" show at the Brooklyn Public Library from which several works have been excluded, and GL is happy to be mentioned in the story. (Our item, from a week ago, was entitled "Art the Brooklyn Public Library Doesn't Want You to See.") Mr. Berger writes of the missing works (which include a portrait by Sarah Sagarin, which appears here, of Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn's Daniel Goldstein and a drawing of Atlantic Yards as a toilet bowl):
Those works are absent because the library judged them too partisan or too abstract for its purposes. The decision has led to a debate over censorship that is as spirited as the battle over the project itself.

After the decision to remove the works was reported on Feb. 8 in The New York Observer real estate Web log, there were complaints. One Web log, the Gowanus Lounge, called the omissions “self-interest and stupidity of the highest order,” and the Web site of Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn said the library had “censored the vision of the show’s original organizers and curators.”

In response, library spokesmen say that the show, which will run through April 21, is intended solely to portray the people, places and buildings that lie within the 22 acres of the controversial Atlantic Yards project.

Jay Kaplan, director of the library’s programs and exhibitions, said the institution’s role is to document what is taking place in Brooklyn, not to provide a platform for advocacy. He called the rejected painting of Mr. Goldstein “hagiographic” and the arena-as-toilet-bowl a “political cartoon.”

Norman Oder takes issue with the latter statement in today's Atlantic Yards Report and No Land Grab also does some deconstruction of the explanation, digging deep into the meaning of "hagiography." Hagiography is "biography of saints or venerated persons." Develop Don't Destroy, whose Daniel Goldstein, is involved in the eminent domain suit against the Atlantic Yards project and is the subject of one of the omitted works, the portrait by Ms. Sagarin, weighs in with its own item as well.

Related Post:
Art the Brooklyn Public Library Doesn't Want You to See


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