Critical Images (exhibition)
Region: North America
Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion, Sexual/Gender Orientation
Medium: Mixed Media
Artist: 18 artists in conjunction with Artemisia Gallery
Confronting Bodies: Chicago Transit Authority
Dates of Action: 1985
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Description of Artwork: 18 different political art images to be displayed on 500 EL car, platform, and bus signs by selected artists.
The Incident: Artemisia approached the CTA through its advertising agent, TDI Winston Network, in October 1984, submitting a description of the show concept. The CTA accepted the show, reserving the right to final approval of the images. And it also ruled out images that contained "nudity, profanity or support of a political candidate." To avoid last minute conflicts and unnecessary work for the participating artists, the curators asked the artists to turn in mock-ups that could be approved ahead of time by the CTA. The show Critical Images was scheduled for a month long run in May, 1985, and in late March, Artemisia submitted the mock-ups. After a few weeks, the CTA informed the gallery that only eight pieces would run in the show. The eight works rode the trains, and all works were displayed in the gallery along with flyers distributed with statements about all eighteen artist works. Artemisia then received a four-page letter from the CTA outlining the reasons for rejection.
Results of Incident: Censorship has become a common practice all over the United States on public transportation.
Source: Committee For Artists' Rights Archive