Some Living American Women Artists/Last Supper

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Date: 1995

Region: North America

Subject: Religious Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Mixed Media


Artist: Mary Beth Edelson (b. 1933)

Confronting Bodies: Eight faculty members at Franklin and Marshal College, including a Russian Orthodox Priest

Dates of Action: October 1995

Location: The Women's Center, Franklin and Marshal College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Description of Artwork: The 1972 poster recasts Da'Vinci's Last Supper with women artists of the '70s feminist art movement, and has been recognized as the iconic image in the art of 70s feminism. A border of more women artists frames the image. Georgia O'Keefe's head takes the place of Jesus.

The Incident: A copy of the poster was donated to the Women's Center upon its opening in 1992, and the center placed it on permanent display. As a result, eight faculty members complained that it was an affront to Christian sensitivities. They called for the censure of the Women's Center and its Executive Board, who declined to remove the image.

Results of Incident: As in 1972, the piece attracted media attention and sparked debate between religious communities and feminists.

Mary Beth Edelson (formerly Mary Beth Snyder) first encountered censorship in 1955 as a student at Indiana's DePauw University. Two of her works were removed from an exhibit on display in their Union Building. They were eliminated by suggestion of some faculty members who complained that they were "degrading, not pretty, and would discourage other students from entering the Art Department." Her pieces were replaced by two of her other works, and later exhibited in a senior exhibit in the Art Building.

Source: NCAC, In a Pig's Eye: The Offence of Some Living American Women Artists, Linda S. Aleci, DePauw University newspaper;