Beauty in Every Body (exhibition)
Artist: Kristin Harsma (exhibition curator)
Date of Action: February 2018
Region: North America
Location: Artspace Jackson Flats, Minneapolis
Confronting Bodies: Artspace administrators
Description of Artwork: Beauty in Every Body is an exhibition organized by Artspace, a non-profit real estate developer for the arts, around the theme of body positivity at the Jackson Flats facility in East Minneapolis. It aimed to encourage positive change in attitudes towards gender, self-image and sexuality. The show was curated by Kristin Harsma, a resident artist in Artspace Jackson Flats and displayed over 30 artworks, many of which depict nudes.
The Incident: After a "Somali Muslim" resident complained to the administration, Artspace demanded that Harsma remove the artworks containing nudes from the show. In response, the curator covered the nude portions of the works with pieces of paper bearing the word “censored.” Thereafter, Artspace requested that the artworks are moved to a second gallery space where residents would not encounter the nudes. The exhibition closed a week ahead of schedule.
NCAC urged Artspace to reconsider its exhibition policies in keeping with its mission of fostering the arts and protecting the rights of its resident artists. The organization wrote a letter to Artspace, underlining its past history of censorship as well as its "stunning lack of basic knowledge of art history" (from NCAC letter, February 22, 2018).
Results of Incident: Artspace closed the exhibition in advance and refused to restore the nudes to the exhibition.
Artspace Censors Nudes in Exhibition About Body Positivity, NCAC, February 22, 2018.