Men In Living Rooms
Artist: Jeff Larson
Date of Action: September 4, 2012
Region: North America
Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Confronting Bodies: Stonewall National Museum and Archives
Description of Artwork: Jeff Larson's Men In Living Rooms is a series of photographs depicting naked men sitting in their living rooms. Each photograph submitted to the Stonewall National Museum and Archives shows each man alone in each photograph with his genitalia covered. In an email sent to the Stonewall National Museum and Archives, Dr. Gema Pérez-Sánchez said, "Jeff’s work does not only pay homage to contemporary gay iconic photographers, such as Robert Mapplethorpe, but more importantly, to the long tradition of bourgeois and middle-class portraiture of Dutch painters from as far back as the 15th century, with such brilliant examples as Jan Van Eyck’s Arnolfini Marriage portrait or the work of Dutch 17th-century artists Johannes Vermeer."
The Incident: John Coppola approached artist Jeff Larson over the summer and offered to submit his work to the board for a possible solo exhibit. Larson submitted some of his early and more provocative work to be considered, and was granted said solo exhibit. He was told he would have his photographs featured for the majority of September. On September 4th, the exhibition photos were to be hung in the gallery but did not go up. The next day, Larson received an email from Bryan W. Knicely, President at Stonewall National Museum and Archives, saying that, "While I do not believe in censorship, the current photos push the boundaries…and today's BSEP Education Committee members were even a bit uncomfortable." The claim was that the images were too graphic for the children attending tours to the museum.
Results of Incident: NCAC Director of Programs Svetlana Mintcheva wrote a letter to the Stonewall National Museum and Archives urging them to showcase Jeff Larson's work. Anti-censorship and LGBTQ communities everywhere are upset by this act of censorship.