Friday, June 22, 2018

The Creation and/or Display of Public Art is Prohibited

This one warms my heart.

An artist trying to install mural paintings in Greenwood Lake, NY was stopped by a local ordinance, which cited that “[t]he creation and or display within the Village of Greenwood Lake of public art is prohibited.” Yes, this isn’t Texas for all you Southern haters. This is New York State.

On Feb. 6, the artist, Melanie Gold, put up three six-and-a-half-foot square artworks. Consequently, the building owner was issued a $25 fine and told to take it down by Feb. 22 or risk imprisonment or more fines.

What did Gold do? What every good American does at this point: sue. She contacted Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. Through VLA, lawyers from the firm of Robins, Kaplan filed suit in federal court on Tuesday, accusing the village of violating her right to free speech and promulgating an unconstitutional and impossibly broad ban on artistic expression. Stay tuned for the outcome. [Full disclosure: I am the associate director of VLA.]

Via the paper of record.


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  • An ordinance that prevents the display of public art? Brilliant. We can make it into a Hollywood blockbuster starring Kevin Bacon and John Lithgow. We’ll call it “Footloose 2″.

  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kate Sutherland, Eric Ascalon and Clancco: Art and Law, Clancco: Art and Law. Clancco: Art and Law said: Can a NY town stop an artist from exhibiting public art? #law #free speech [...]

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