PARTICULAR HISTORY AND RESULT OF CENSORSHIP

MARK COETZEE

HISTORY

VIOLATION

ARTS ASSOCIATION OF BELLVILLE GALLERY

19 FEBRUARY - 13 MARCH 1997

Initially pressure applied on artist by curator and chairperson to show "safe" work or practice self -censorship. Artist refuses. Exhibition banned with statement of curator "the contents do not conform to the norms and criteria" set down by Bellville Municipality. Show eventually given the go ahead after enormous media pressure placed on the South African Association of Arts and the Bellville Municipality.

During exhibition a visitor vandalizes the installation. The works are covered with a black material to obscure their viewing. The curator does not consult with artist but attempts to "restore" works and in so doing causes further damage.

Study5

BAD BOOKS

ARTS ASSOCIATION OF BELLVILLE GALLERY

16 JULY - 7 AUGUST 1997

Shortly after opening of exhibition complaints received by the Association. They are asked to remove Coetzee's work. The following day an organization calling themselves "Christians for Truth" steals part of the installation. Under pressure from various moral minorities the Tygerberg Municipal Substructure closes the gallery until Coetzee's work is removed. The exhibition does not reopen. 

Study4

POST-GRADUATE STUDENTS' EXHIBITION

UNIVERSITY OF STELLENBOSCH ART GALLERY

22 APRIL - 14 MAY 1988

At the meeting to organize the exhibition, Department of Fine Art Head requests artists not to show "controversial" work as Faculty Dean implied funding would be threatened. 15 Minutes before exhibition opening Head of Department removes Coetzee's work from gallery walls. A few days later, all other exhibitors remove their work in protest.

 

RESULT

What is of interest here is not whether censorship
is justified or not, but its result.

 

Censorship?


No? Yes?