Thursday, March 24, 2011

Culture Wars: Then and Now symposium @ Corcoran

Culture Wars: Then and Now
Presented at the Corcoran in Partnership with Transformer
and the National Coalition Against Censorship

On Saturday, March 26, the Corcoran Gallery of Art and College of Art + Design, along with partners Transformer and the National Coalition Against Censorship will present Culture Wars: Then and Now, a FREE one-day symposium examining past and current debates about freedom of expression and public support for the arts.

"In light of recent censorship by the Smithsonian Institution and threats by congressional leaders to pull arts funding from national arts institutions, including the National Endowment for the Arts, Culture Wars: Then and Now presents very timely conversation examining how freedom of expression and public support for the arts are currently being debated," said Victoria Reis, executive and artistic director of Transformer. 

Culture Wars: Then and Now will examine censorship in four unique discussions: Censorship Examined, Culture Wars Redux, Give Me a Revolution: Artists' Responses to Censorship, and Free Speech & Arts Funding.

"We are convening this symposium because the fear of controversy and subsequent institutional self-censorship that come in the wake of a censorship incident are much more dangerous than the incident itself," said Svetlana Mintcheva, director of programs at the National Coalition Against Censorship.

All panels will be held at the Frances and Armand Hammer Auditorium from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 26 and are free and open to the public. "The Corcoran is pleased to partner with Transformer and the Coalition to put this important discussion, and subsequent dialogue, on the center stage, where it belongs," said Corcoran Director and President Fred Bollerer.

Marshall Reese of Ligorano/Reese Collaborations and a participating panelist in Culture Wars said: "During the first week of December, I had this strange sense of déjà vu. Once again, politicians were censoring a major art exhibition, and it was even the same artist, David Wojnarowicz. It was almost as if I had been asleep for the past 20 years. And yet, it's become clear, this isn't just some weird Twilight Zone like aberration; it's the onslaught of an attack on not just our civil liberties, but with what's happening in Wisconsin on the American way of life."

To further punctuate aspects of the conversations taking place throughout the symposium, video works via Franklin Furnance's The History of the Future! A Franklin Furnance View of Performance Art will be shown in the Corcoran Atrium during the lunch break and between panel sessions.

A reception for panelists and attendees will follow in the Corcoran Atrium from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Pre-registration is encouraged; to register, visit

The full-day symposium will be streamed live at

Corcoran, 500 Seventeenth Street NW Washington, DC 20006

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