Friday, October 9, 2009

Mariano Gonzales Installation At Alaska Pacific University Forced to Come Down Ten Days Early by Pro-Censorship APU President

University of Alaska Art Department Chairman Mariano Gonzales' installation, Please Remind Us....Why Are Americans Still Dying in the Middle East, is currently up at the Alaska Pacific University's Conoco-Phillips Gallery, in Grant Hall. Late Thursday, Gonzales was informed that the installation is inappropriate, and will have to come down far sooner than it was supposed to be shown. Prof. Gonzales visited the alternative space. Here is his statement:

The APU administration has agreed to continue my exhibition, but at at the Carr-Gottstein gallery instead of its present location. I consider this to be a good faith effort on the part of APU not to censor my show. I am also cognizant of some of their concerns relevant to a children's theater production happening there on Oct.16. So I agreed.

But, after reviewing the CG gallery space I have concluded that the exhibition simply will not not fit. The lighting is too bright, and the layout of the area, including the arrangement of elements in that space make it impossible to recreate the solemnity of my exhibition.

My show was designed specifically for the Conoco Phillips gallery. It would probably fit in a similarly arranged space elsewhere, but the Carr Gottstein is unsuitable as it is essentially a lounge area with enough wall space to hang pictures.

My exhibition would look so out of place there that even the sophisticated viewer would find cause to complain!

But I won't go back on my word, so on October 15 at 6:00 pm I will put away the flags, and remove the comments that so many have left; mostly pro and some con.

It may be possible in the future to find another venue for the display. For now, I hope that APU will allow me to leave in place of my exhibit a placard with final comments on this experience.

I'll be performing a new version of Shards - Shards V - for bugle, electronics and electronic sound, on October 15th, at 4:00 p.m, in the gallery, as the show begins to be taken down.


Aussie Blue Sky said...

Perhaps the deliberate hanging of the flag back to front was the deciding factor.

Aussie Blue Sky said...

The flag seems to be hung properly. What was the flag scandal about last week, then? Was it back to front like folks said?

Or is this North dude just really too uncool for his job? And waaay too uncool to be an art critic?

Or is North merely a garden-variety hatriot in a position to flex it?

Lazarhat said...

Since Bush's wars were and all about oil and war profiteering it is only fitting this be displayed in its original location. This is a travesty of artistic censorship.


jim said...

As an artist I'm sympathetic with concerns regarding the two different galleries. The Conoco Phillips Gallery is the best space for some things. The walls, room, and lighting are significantly different from the other APU space. Plus the Conoco area was recently upgraded. Bad light can kill some shows, but the Conoco gallery has especially good and controlled lighting.

The other space is larger but the lighting is different. I've planned my own shows for the Conoco space because I like the match of lighting and environment. I've always preferred the Grant Hall gallery, especially after the upgrade.

With all respect to artists who have shown in the other space-- that place is suitable (and best) for other specific concepts. But I think Mario's work should stay in the Conoco gallery where it was designed for in the first place. Obviously Mario's show was designed with that room in mind. If APU had wanted Mario to show in the other gallery, they should have told him that.

There is no need for a move. Just leave the show up where it is.

Things Come Undone said...

I bet an anti Obama work could get shown no problem.

Philip Munger said...


I'm not sure Mariano's exhibit qualifies as "pro-Obama" or anti.

Polarbear said...

Follow the money through the major donors, including the APU Board of Trustees, and the reason for Doug North's actions will be found. It could be as simple as the number of military enrollees in degree completion and graduate programs at APU. APU operates on the thinnest of business cases.