Temecula City Managers Remove Nude Artwork from Visual Expression 2010 Show

"Nude 2" by Jeff Hebron

In January, artwork by Jeff Hebron, which had been selected for inclusion in a Temecula, CA juried art exhibit (Visual Expressions 2010), was removed upon the request of the City Management. The problem: the painting depicted a nude figure. The gallery where the piece was to be shown is a city-owned space, which is why there are serious First Amendment concerns. NCAC sent a letter to Temacula City Manager, Shawn Nelson,  protesting the censorship.

It is not the role of a public official to shield the eyes of the public from work because he subjectively decides it is not “family-friendly.” The arbitrary, subjective, and vague determination of what might be “appropriate” for the venue has led in this case to the impermissible imposition of an individual’s viewpoint on the whole community.

Simple nudity is not sufficient grounds for excluding artwork from public exhibition. If it were, a vast amount of great art, including masterpieces like Michelangelo’s David, would be off limits.

The nude is one of the central subjects of art. It graces city squares and other public places. The imposition of a government official’s belief that nudes are to be kept out of sight of ‘families’ not only violates free speech principles, it demonstrates disregard for the community at large, whose members should be allowed to see the full range of artistic expression.


About Blog of the National Coalition Against Censorship

Blogging Censorship is where National Coalition Against Censorship staff weigh in on the censorship issues on their minds.
This entry was posted in Svetlana Mintcheva: Author and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Temecula City Managers Remove Nude Artwork from Visual Expression 2010 Show

  1. Johnny says:

    Hitler and the Nazi’s used censorship as on of their tools, they used a term similar to “Family Values”. China is a big censorship country today. We must remember that the USA is not China, we have a Bill Of Rights that does apply, no matter what group objects or what “reason” is used to block our access to the constitution. “Family Values” is today’s buzzword for “Censorship” and also the scrubbing or removal of sexuality from society because of beliefs rooted in ignorance that somehow it is evil and will destroy. It is no surprise to me that since we have lower education standards than Europe that we are less free. The cure to this kind of censorship is education.

  2. naturalmike says:

    And they say America is the land of the free! Simple nudity is not shameful(read the late great Pope John Paul’s thesis on “Love and Responsibility”) and for some city dimwit to arbitrarily say so is disgraceful.

  3. Pingback: Temecula artists speak out about city actions

  4. Pingback: (In)decent exposure? Nudes in art « Blogging Censorship

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