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Chelsea Art Museum Cancels “Terror” Show


Published: September 29, 2008
NEW YORK—The Chelsea Art Museum has canceled "The Aesthetics of Terror," an exhibition scheduled to open in November, reports Art Fag City.

According to the blog, the show's curator, Manon Slome, canceled the show and resigned from the museum "as a result of significant differences in opinion regarding content and the direction."

An artist involved in the show, meanwhile, said in an email that museum president Dorothea Keeser "concluded that the show glorified terrorism and showed disrespect for its victims."

It continued, "Our willingness to accommodate and conduct an attentive and sensitive dialogue with the museum was met with increasing hostility. What began with questions as to the title soon evolved into tactics of blocking, demands for change, for the elimination of some work, some essays, and images from the catalogue which would have seriously compromised the show. As a result Manon resigned from the museum and we pulled the show."

Keeser said in an interview with Art Fag City: "I said there were several exhibition parts which glorified terrorism and which disrespected the human beings. Absolutely. I am absolutely able stand up for that because that is my opinion. I do not think that an artist should show children and women which are torn apart by bombs. That is not the question for the artist. An artist has to go one step beyond, and find what are the reasons for terrorism and how one can go to another way a revolution against terrorism, and not just show very banal photos which we see every day in the television. That’s not art."

Slome responded: "I was surprised by Dorothea’s turn against the show as she has always showed a wonderful tolerance for individual rights and political freedom. I now only seek a receptive venue to place what I believe is an extremely important exhibition that sheds light on an undeniable phenomena of our times."

The museum has since issued a press release saying that Slome resigned "for personal reasons."

"As the show is ready to be installed and the catalogue is ready, it surely will be shown somewhere," Keeser told Off Center, a blog at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. "For the time being, we are too hurt to show it here after what happened and was said about us."