The Guggenheim’s Alexandra Munroe on Why ‘The Theater of the World’ Was Intended to Be Brutal

The curator explains the origins of the exhibition and the thinking behind its most controversial elements. Now well ensconced at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum as its Samsung Senior Curator of Asian Art, Munroe is trying to repeat that feat with recent Chinese art history, working with two co-curators—the widely respected experts Hou Hanru and Phillip Tinari—to […]

Censorship, Not the Painting, Must Go: On Dana Schutz’s Image of Emmett Till

Presuming that calls for censorship and destruction constitute a legitimate response to perceived injustice leads us down a very dark path. The presence of blackness in a Whitney Biennial invariably stirs controversy — it’s deemed to be unfit or not enough, or too much. The current Whitney Biennial is no exception — the art press […]

Should Art That Infuriates Be Removed?

We all encounter art we don’t like, that upsets and infuriates us. This doesn’t deserve to be exhibited, our brains yell; it should not be allowed to exist. Still, does such aversion mean that an artwork must be removed from view — or, worse, destroyed? This question has been at the heart of the controversy […]

Mapplethorpe Print at Center of Culture Wars Returns to Public Eye

Twenty-five years ago this month, a Cincinnati jury wrote an exclamation point into the story of the culture wars that were raging through art museums and academia. The jury acquitted that city’s Contemporary Arts Center and its director of criminal obscenity charges for exhibiting a group of photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe, graphic sexual images that […]

Police Shut Down Mosque Installation at Venice Biennale

The police in Venice closed an art installation in the form of a functioning mosque on Friday morning, after city officials declared the art project a security hazard and said that the artist who created it, Christoph Büchel, had not obtained proper permits and had violated laws by allowing too many people inside the mosque […]

Artist draws controversy turning church into Venice’s first mosque

In a tranquil corner of Venice’s Cannaregio district stands a handsome church with an icing sugar white baroque facade. Its origins stretch back to the 10thcentury, but the last mass was celebrated here in 1967, since when, deconsecrated and in private hands, it has stood silent and unused. On 9 May, however, as the 56th […]