Freedom Series

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Date: 1993

Region: North America

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion, Explicit Sexuality, Nudity

Medium: Painting

Artist: Bud Madeen

Confronting Bodies: Hemmens Auditorium building manager Ed Spurr

Dates of Action: 1993

Location: Elgin, Illinois

Description of Artwork: Bud Madeen volunteered to display several of his paintings in a collection entitled Freedom Series as a complement to an Elgin Symphony patriotic concert. The controversial painting, Women's Liberation, included in a collection focusing on the American flag, features a topless woman nursing a flag swaddled baby.

The Incident: Hemmens Auditorium building manager Ed Spurr took down Women's Liberation the day following the concert and locked it in a storage room after receiving complaints from unidentified people finding the painting offensive. According to Madeen, the work was to be displayed for the rest of the month, but Spurr claimed it was removed prematurely to avoid offending those who would be attending children's events at the auditorium. Spurr said, "Because of the large group of children we had in here, we didn't think it appropriate... to have a naked breast on display." Madeen said, "I was mad. I happened to come in Monday just to replenish my supply of [brochures]. One of my paintings had been taken down."

Results of Incident: Madeen refused offers to re-hang his painting after the children's events had taken place and left Hemmens Auditorium with his entire exhibit.

Source: Artistic Freedom Under Attack 1994