Artist: Mike Ford
Date of Action: August 30, 2013
Region: North America
Location: Phoenix, Arizona, USA
Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion
Confronting Bodies: Laurene Austin, Herberger Theater Company
Description of Artwork: Mike Ford's photographs The Sodomite shows a man in makeup with the word "sodomite" written in red across his forehead. The Dolls shows Ford with his mother; both wearing white makeup, red lips, and curly blonde wigs. The Hotel Room, a photograph of a clothed man on a bed wearing a mask.
The Incident: Herberger Theater Center Steele Pavilion Art Gallery canceled the exhibition "Prime Example" a week before its opening in response to the title of one of artist Mike Ford's photographs, The Sodomite. Ms. Austin, the director of development at the the theater voiced concern to curator Robert Pela regarding the titles of the works, particularly The Sodomite. She was concerned that the subject matter would interfere with the children and families who would be frequenting the theater for planned festivals throughout the month.
The canceled exhibit also contained works from artists, Ronnie Ray Mendez, Suzanne Falk, and Geoffrey Gersten.
Results of Incident: Members of the Phoenix art community protested outside the theater the following week. Many artists thought of the Herberger theater as a place of censorship and had cancelled their future showings at the venue.