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February 13, 2007

PRESS RELEASE: Salon des Refusés de la Bibliothèque de Brooklyn

A Collection of Art Work Censored by the Brooklyn Public Library

Feb 22nd to March 29th
485 Dean St. @ 6th Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11217
(718) 622-7035


Opening Reception, Thursday, Feb 22nd 5:30 to 8:30

BROOKLYN—The Brooklyn Public Library is hosting and re-curating an exhibit it invited to the Library. In its re-curation the Library has censored the vision of the show’s original organizers and curators.

In the summer of 2006 a group of Brooklyn artists were asked to create work inspired by the section of Prospect Heights slated for demolition to make way for Bruce Ratner’s “Atlantic Yards” project. The curators of the show, Dan Sagarin and Belle Benefield, put out a call for portraits of the residents, images of the landscape, and conceptual interpretations of the buildings and sidewalks that many of these artists call home. The goal was not to take a stand on what has become a heated and divisive political issue, but to document the neighborhood as it is now and explore the issues surrounding the proposed development. The results were brought together in Footprints: Portrait of a Brooklyn Neighborhood. The show, comprised of paintings, drawings, photography, video, sculpture and installation, made it clear that what stood in the footprint of this massive development project was actually a dynamic, diverse, thriving neighborhood.

oFinnVideo01.jpgAfter a well-attended, successful November run at Grand Space in Prospect Heights, the Brooklyn Public Library chose to pick up the show and exhibit it in the library’s central branch. But the library excluded works they deemed “too political” or “abstract,” thereby altering Sagarin’s and Benefield’s original vision and exhibition.

Mr. Sagarin said in response "I was hurt when I learned that, if we wanted to exhibit at the library, some of our artists, including my sister, would not be represented. I knew that I wanted to go ahead with it anyway, and that I would have to tell some of our strongest artists that they were out."

spindelman01.jpgThe Brooklyn Paper reported last August that the library was trying to get Bruce Ratner to fund its new arts branch.

When questioned about the show and the censored works, the Library told the NY Observer “As a modern library, our mission is to provide free and open access to information for all library patrons through many resources....”

“I think the Library’s fear of addressing any real dialogue about the project, is a reflection of their own political stand in support of it, due to their own desires for financial support. Perhaps an even more important issue might simply be the immorality of the library’s censorship. I believe some of the strongest pieces in the original show were omitted. I invite anyone to come make your own decision,” said Donald O’Finn rejected artist.

Some of the censored works can be found here: http://www.freddysbackroom.com/art.html

In the spirit of the Alternative Salon* and with the goal of displaying all of the work from the original Footprints show at the same time, Donald O’Finn, artist and manager of Freddy’s bar presents:

Salon des Refusés de la Bibliothèque de Brooklyn: opening reception Thursday Feb 22nd 5:30 to 8:30

Freddy's BACKROOM 485 Dean St. @ 6th Avenue. Brooklyn, NY 11217

Come view the work and experience Freddy’s, a neighborhood institution (voted one of the best bars in America by Esquire magazine in 2006) currently thriving in the footprint of “Atlantic Yards”. Enjoy it while you still can…

* Set up by Napoleon III, in 1863, in response to protests from the artists about the restrictive nature of the jurying for the official Paris Salon which excluded some of the most experimental artists of the time: Manet, Courbet, etc.

Posted by lumi at February 13, 2007 9:04 AM