White Magic and Xanadu
Region: North America
Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion
Medium: Mixed Media, Installation
Artist: Maya Lujan
Confronting Bodies: The student curators of the UCLA 2008 Wight Biennial exhibition
Dates of Action: September 24, 2008
Location: New Wight Gallery at UCLA's Broad Art Center, Los Angeles, California, USA.
Description of Artwork: A small square of bare wall enclosed by four arms made of velvet, mounted on a wall. This piece is complimentary to a large art structure.
The Incident: Student curators who requested the removal of the mandala said to Lujan in an email that they, "love your installation" but were "wondering if the wall mandala is absolutely necessary and if you would be open to taking it down? We've received a lot of questions about it and I am afraid it is being misread by the public." Also, the "curators were misled by the fact that in her proposal Lujan described this part of the work as a 'velvet painting' and that the proposal materials did not make clear what the finished installation would look like or 'it would have been dealt with before.'" The curators did not say the piece resembled a swastika, but Russell Ferguson, chairman of the UCLA art department, did confirm that the decision to remove the piece was because of the resemblance. The curators removed the velvet mandala piece before receiving approval by Lujan, but left the remaining art structure in the exhibit.
Results of Incident: The piece was removed for the exhibit. Lujan would like another opportunity to exhibit her piece in its entirety.
Source: Los Angeles Times http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/culturemonster/2008/10/ucla-art.html