Footprints: Portrait of a Brooklyn Neighborhood (exhibition)

Daniel Goldstein, painted by Sarah Sagarin
Donald O'Finn's artwork

Artist: Donald O'Finn, Sarah Sagarin, and other unnamed artists

Year: 2007

Date of Action: February 2007

Region: North America

Location: Brooklyn, New York

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Painting

Confronting Bodies: Brooklyn Central Public Library

Description of Artwork: The Brooklyn Public Library describes the purpose of the exhibition as such:

"The proposed Atlantic Yards arena and building complex in Brooklyn is poised to be one of the largest redevelopment projects ever undertaken in New York City. Its targeted 22-acre site is known as the "Footprint".

In the midst of the debate over the future of Atlantic Yards and of Brooklyn, a group of local artists has joined together in an effort to move beyond the sound bites and take a closer look at this contested place and its community.

Footprints: Portrait of a Brooklyn Neighborhood stands as a document of a Brooklyn neighborhood facing rapid change." [1]

About a dozen artworks were kept from the exhibition for being either too partisan about the current political of the time, or too abstract. They include a drawing by Donald O'Flynn of the Brooklyn cityscape, with the Barclays Center replaced by a giant toilet bowl, a collage called "Target," which featured the area near the Atlantic Yards building cite, and a portrait of Daniel Goldstein by Sarah Sagarin. Goldstein is a spokesman for Develop, Don't Destroy Brooklyn, a group that opposes the construction of the Barclays Center at Atlantic Yards.

The Incident: All of the pieces appeared last fall on display at a community center in Prospect Heights. They were set to be displayed at the library, but about a dozen pieces were removed from the display for being either too abstract or too political. According to the director of the library's programs and exhibitions, Jay Kaplan, “The library doesn’t take positions on issues currently being decided. That’s not censorship. That’s just a mission statement.” [2]

Results of Incident: Donald O'Flynn organized a display of the censored artworks at Freddy's Bar and Backroom, a popular establishment which he manages.