Banned and Recovered—Artists Respond to Censorship

Exhibition of Banned Book Inspired Artworks

Humboldt State University’s Reese Bullen Gallery hosts Banned and Recovered: Artists Intervention, a travelling exhibition of works by 37 artists, presented by California Exhibition Resources Alliance (CERA) and funded by the James Irvine Foundation.

Through original book art, mixed media, paintings, photographs, and multi-media art, the exhibition brings to light historic bannings and challenge attempts that continue to threaten our First Amendment rights today. Words and images intersect, resulting in a spectacular collection of witty, whimsical, angry, and thought-provoking statements about the ramifications of censorship and the importance of free speech. Featured artists include: Milton Bowens, Enrique Chagoya, Victor Cartagena, Jose Ramon Lerma, Nigel Poor, Jan Wurm and HSU alumnus, Noah Wilson. A free, catered reception for the public will be held on September 23rd from 4pm to 6pm. The exhibit will be on display during normal gallery hours from September 24th through November 6th.

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Jody Alexander: Wrapped Words, 2008 Mixed media Courtesy of the artist Referenced work: The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood

In keeping with the theme “free people create freely,” artists in the exhibition were not hindered by guidelines, but left to interpret their chosen banned or challenged book title however they wished. Many of the artworks reveal the absurdity and randomness that characterizes much of censorship. Above all, Banned and Recovered: Artist Intervention is evidence that the creative spirit survives, even in a hostile environment. Publications and authors featured in Banned and Recovered: Artist Intervention include: John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men; J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter; Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye; Ernest Hemmingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls; Pink Floyd, The Wall; Allen Ginsberg, Howl; and Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front.

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Favianna Rodriguez: Where Does the End of Me Become the Start of You?, 2008 Monotype Courtesy of the artist Referenced work: The Color Purple, Alice Walker

Banned and Recovered: Artist Intervention will tour museums and libraries from September 2010 to January 2013. The mission of the California Exhibition Resources Alliance is to build new perspectives among Californians, create innovative exhibitions and solutions, and advance institutions in service to their communities. More information about CERA and their exhibits can be found by visiting www.ceraexhibits.org.

The Reese Bullen Gallery is located in HSU’s art building directly across from the Van Duzer Theatre and is open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 12pm to 5pm; Thursday 12pm to 7pm; Friday 12pm to 5pm; and Saturday 10am to 2pm. Daily parking is available with a $3.50 permit, which can be obtained at dispensaries on Harpst Street and LK Wood. Parking meters are also available on B Street. For more information, please contact our gallery staff at (707) 826-5814 or rbg@humboldt.edu.