Invasive Eaters

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Artist: Barbara Fletcher

Year: 2020

Date of Action: July 2020

Region: North America

Location: Concord, Massachusetts

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Installation, Mixed Media, Sculpture

Confronting Bodies: The Umbrella Arts Center

Description of Artwork: Fletcher’s sculpture, made of materials like wire, plaster, paint, bittersweet vine, and polyurethane, portrays four figures sitting around a table, some of whom resemble Senator Mitch McConnell, Kim Jong Un, and President Donald Trump.

The Incident: Fletcher submitted a proposal for this work to be included in the Umbrella’s annual “Art Ramble” outdoor exhibition. The Umbrella’s staff rejected Fletcher’s proposal because the figures’ faces were recognizable. Although Susan Israel, curator of this exhibition, relayed to Fletcher the Umbrella’s curators’ rejection and suggestion that Fletcher create anonymous faces, Fletcher decided to proceed as planned.

Results of Incident: The Umbrella removed Fletcher’s sculpture from the exhibition claiming that exhibiting the sculpture would violate IRS guidelines for organization with a 501(c)(3) status. The sculpture was removed within a week of its installation. “Invasive Eaters” was instead exhibited in “Art and Activism,” which was organized by the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Association of Women Artists.